Russian man lives normal life with a still heart

The man's heart stopped beating after a heart attack, but the man did not die

Nikolai Mikhalnichuk, a resident of the Russian city of Saratov, is a unique man. He is the only person in Russia, who lives with a still heart.

The story started several years ago, when Nikolai's relationship with his wife, Lydia, started worsening. Lydia was coming home late, Nikolai was answering dead phone calls: he realized that she was having a love affair. One day Lydia said that she wanted to leave him.

Nikolai was crushed with the news – he had a heart attack at night. He felt sharp pain in the chest, and it took him great efforts to call an ambulance. When doctors looked at the cardiogram, they were surprised to see that the graphic waves on the paper did not look like usual ones – Nikolai's diagram was much smaller.

When doctors examined Nikolai's heart through blood vessels, they were shocked to find out that the man's heart was not beating, although the vessels continued pumping his blood. Nikolai's body was functioning on the base of absolutely unknown rules.

Numerous additional medical examinations could only prove the previous result: the man's heart was not beating. When doctors were checking Nikolai out of the hospital, they told him about the remarkable peculiarity of his cardiovascular system. At present moment Nikolai visits a local cardio-center once in a month to have his unique heart examined.

”When doctors told me about my heart, I was shocked. I was afraid to walk and even to breathe. I was panicking all the time: I thought that blood would stop flowing through my body and I would just die. Then I got used to it. Now I can even forget about it at times,” Nikolai said.

When Nikolai's ex-wife learnt about what happened, she came to see her ex-husband at the hospital. “I did not let her come in. It all happened to me because of her. I don't want to see her,” the man said.

Nikolai met a girl six months after that. “I was afraid to touch her – what if I died because of that. That was the only idea in my head because I thought that any emotional stress, positive or negative, would be deadly to me. But then I just thought that such a life would not be good for me and I decided to live my life to the utmost, like before.”

Vitali Levitski, a professor of the Institute of Cardiology said that Nikolai Mikhalnichuk became the third person in the world, who could live with a still heart. “Two other individuals like Nikolai live in Brazil and Japan. Blood vessels of the human heart are elastic and strong enough to pump blood. That is why Nikolai is still living, breathing and moving. His heart is alive; one may say that it is sleeping. Such a unique incident occurred as a result of his stress. A strong emotional experience results in a powerful hormone action, which affects the heart and vessels first and foremost,” the professor said.

The phenomenon of a still heart was discovered for the first time in the 1950s in Vienna, Austria. Scientists found “sleeping” parts of the heart tissue with seven members of the experiment to test a new cardiograph model. The seven patients said that they had had a very strong emotional stress before. However, those seven individuals had stillness of only certain parts of their hearts. Nikolai is definitely a unique individual, because his entire heart muscle went to a standstill. If he did not have extra-strong elastic vessels, he would not be able to live.

”This man can live a normal life for many years. He is not allowed to do any extreme sports, but simple physical exercises and moderate sex will be only good for him,” professor Levitski said.

A 27-year-old pregnant woman, named only as Anna, was taken to the clinic of the Moscow Medical Institute. The young woman was a unique patient in the clinic, because she had had her uterus removed two years before she got pregnant. The fetus was growing in the woman's abdominal cavity – the baby was born with the help of Cesarean section.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about five percent of people live with only one kidney, 3.3% have only one lung, and 1.9% of people have no stomach. About 0.3% of men are born with only one testicle. Doctors believe that such a physical defect can cause only aesthetical discomfort, whereas such men can have children and have no problems with sexual potency.

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Author`s name Olga Savka