For Patrick String, the transition from healthy 56-year-old man to seriously ill patient on life support happened almost instantaneously.
The day had started out simply enough. Patrick was at his home in New Jersey when he suddenly collapsed on the living room floor. His wife called an ambulance, and they rushed to the local hospital.
Scans revealed numerous blood clots in Patrick’s heart and lungs. He was immediately wheeled into the operating room to undergo an emergency thrombectomy — a surgery to remove the clots — and was put on life support.
His physicians were baffled. They thought the clots might be the result of a COVID-19 infection, but the String family wasn’t so sure.
“We didn’t feel like that was right in our heart of hearts,” Patrick’s daughter Samantha told Inside Edition. “We are vaccinated, we’re boosted, and we’d never really had a scare.”
It was then that Patrick’s son Andrew remembered the results of a recent 23andMe Health + Ancestry report. His report indicated that he had a genetic variant detected in the Factor II gene, which is linked to hereditary thrombophilia – a predisposition to developing harmful blood clots.
A Family Risk for Blood Clots
Andrew shared his Hereditary Thrombophilia Genetic Health Risk Report* result with his father’s medical team. They concluded that his symptoms aligned and that this could be a potential cause, one that they weren’t originally thinking of, given such an extreme presentation. Armed with this potential lead, they were able to tailor Patrick’s treatment. Follow-up testing confirmed that Patrick had the same variant and the doctors agree it is the most likely cause.
Today, Patrick is in physical therapy and is making significant progress.
“I’m getting better every day, for sure,” he said. “I’m going to physical therapy twice a week and taking a lot of medication every day. The recovery is where we expected it to be.”
While his father continues to work on his recovery, Andrew is working to spread the word about Factor II and 23andMe.
“I tell all my friends about it,” he said. “I tell all my coworkers and people just walking down the street about it. He [my father] is a medical miracle.”
*The 23andMe PGS test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment.The Hereditary Thrombophilia genetic health risk report is indicated for reporting of the Factor V Leiden variant in the F5 gene, and the Prothrombin G20210A variant in the F2 gene and describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing harmful blood clots. The variants included in this report are most common and best studied in people of European descent. These variants are also found in populations with European ancestry, like African Americans and Hispanics or Latinos. For important information and limitations regarding each genetic health risk report, click here.