Active man who experienced heart failure at 38 urges others to act on flu symptoms

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Alfino Donastorg has always been active, but two years ago he got sick.

"I thought it was just a common cold," Donastorg said.

When he became short of breath, he ended up in the hospital.

"They were telling me my heart was failing, heart transplant is imminent."

Alfino had cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle that led to congestive heart failure at age 38.

"He was a healthy young man who was just exposed to the flu and it attacked his heart," says Yordanka Reyna, a Cardiologist.

Reyna says the flu causes inflammation that can quickly lead to cardiac symptoms. She added that heart disease due to the flu can happen to anyone, so if you think you have the flu, get help.

"Go to the emergency room, go to their doctors," Reyna said. "They will be tested very easily and very fast."

Dr. Reyna worked to keep Alfino off the heart transplant list.

"We managed to get him better with intravenous medicines, diuretics," Reyna said.

Donastorg still can't believe how close he came to death.

"Your body tells you, 'hey listen, there's something that's not right, please get checked out,'" Donastorg said.

Donastorg's message: Don't ignore the signs!
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