UNT Health physician helps young patient return to the court

November 15, 2012

Teen-age basketball star Kylie Ducat was frustrated that 12 doctors were unable to explain her chest pain and turned to UNT Health‘s Albert Yurvati, DO (’86).

For a year Ducat experienced pain in her chest that radiated to her back, neck and shoulders. At times she couldn’t breathe. Playing basketball was out of the question. Her team was on track to make the playoffs – without her. Yurvati, the 13th physician she’d seen, discovered an injury to the xiphoid process at the base of her sternum.

What caused it to happen? A freak injury. Kylie had been running cross country when she was struck by a car. She knew a rib was fractured but didn’t know why the pain continued after the rib healed. Thus began the journey to physician after physician until she found Yurvati.

"It was the first thing I thought of," he said. "It was pressing on the sac enclosing her heart. That’s why she couldn’t breathe and why it was so painful."

Ten weeks after surgery, Kylie was back on the basketball court. In that first playoff game she scored a three-pointer. And she was on the team when the Lady Eagles from Brock High School, near Weatherford, won the 2A state championship.

"I was thrilled they won the state championship," Yurvati said. "It’s rewarding just to know the importance of that diagnosis and to be able to change a kid’s life like that. If the doctors had put her on antipsychotics, her life would never have been the same."

Yurvati bought a sponsorship package to the upcoming Brock Lady Eagles Showcase Basketball Tournament on Nov. 29-Dec. 1, a fundraiser for the school, and said he was looking forward to attending.

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