Viagra keeps seven-year-old girl alive 178

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By Alexander Lawrie

A SEVEN-YEAR old girl with a life-threatening illness is being kept alive thanks to a new cure – four daily doses of Viagra.
 
Natalie Archibald first starting feeling unwell 18 months ago and was found to be suffering from the rare lung condition, Primary Pulmonary Hypertension.
 
The brave youngster was whisked off to Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London and was immediately prescribed the sex drug to help combat the illness.
 
And after medics at first put Natalie’s illness down to over-excitement, her worried mum Janis was forced to quit her legal job in an effort to convince doctors something was wrong.
 
Janis, 46, from Musselburgh, admitted she was surprised when she eventually found out what drugs the doctors had prescribed for little Natalie.
 
She said: “At first when we saw the programme of drugs, Viagra was given the proper medical name of Sildenafil or Revatio, so we didn’t know what it was.
 
“It was only when we looked into it a bit more and, of course, then came all the jokes.
 
“But seriously, it has transformed her life. I’ve never seen her so happy. She can run, jump, skip – all the things her friends do.
 
“We have a wheelchair for her if she gets exhausted, but we’ve never had to use it, and I hope she grows out of it before we do need it.”
 
The illness was first spotted on Christmas Day 2006 when Natalie collapsed after spending the morning opening her presents.
 
At first, paramedics put it down to over-excitement, but when the Loretto Primary School pupil continued to pass out and turn blue, Mrs Archibald decided to quit her job as a legal secretary to keep a closer eye on her child and to convince medics something was seriously wrong.
 
She said: “It was so frustrating because I knew there was something wrong with my wee girl but no-one could find out what it was.
 
“It got to the stage where we had almost given up trying to find out, until a doctor new to us went back into her records and carried out some more tests and diagnosed her.
 
“That part was all really quick. Within two weeks we were down to Great Ormond Street Hospital and the drugs had started, but it was a long fight to get there.”
 
The incurable lung condition has potentially fatal consequences as it causes high blood pressure and puts a strain on the heart.
 
The Viagra helps to open the little Natalie’s arteries and improve the blood flow to her lungs.
 
Mrs Archibald said: “It’s very hard for us to think about, and we’ve not broached the subject with her.
 
“They say there’s a ten-year limit on it, but as long as she’s stable like she is just now then things are fine.”
 
Pulminary Hypertension is described as an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery which usually leads to a shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting, all of which are worsened by physical exertion.

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