A German erotic star has said she feels “liberated” after undergoing surgery to cure her of a life-threatening disease which meant she kept passing out every time she had to swallow.
Roxy Zinger – who starred in primetime hits such as Temptation Island and Ex On The Beach – has struggled with the rare condition called swallow syncope since she was a child.
The erotic model, 31, said: “I had my first fit at the age of seven. I was standing in front of my wardrobe. As I was picking my outfit for the day, I was chewing on a chocolate bar.
“As I was chewing it, I suddenly felt dizzy. Then I passed out.”
Speaking to the Bild newspaper, Roxy – from Ansbach, Bavaria – said she had not suffered any serious injuries from the fall.
But the model and reality TV starlet added: “I knew something was wrong.”
She explained: “My parents played it down. They were convinced it had to do with the fact that I was growing quickly.
“We consulted different doctors but none of them could determine the cause.”
Roxy revealed: “It got worse year after year. There hasn’t been a day on which I didn’t lose consciousness while eating. Sometimes my head hit the plate. It was horrible.”
Around one year ago, Roxy intensified her search for treatment.
She told Bild: “I went to see neurologists, cardiologists, internists and oncologists. I tried everything I could but to no avail.”
But things took a sudden turn for the better when one of her 93,000 Instagram followers advised Roxy to consult Dr Bulent Kokturk, department head at the Sana Clinic Benrath in Dusseldorf, North-Rhine Westphalia.
Around two years ago, the internist and cardiologist healed a woman with the same condition by opting for ablation, an innovative procedure in which biological tissue such as a faulty nerve ending is removed.
Roxy said: “When I heard about that, I was convinced this would be what I wanted to do.”
Dr Kokturk said: “Miss Zinger’s heart briefly tended to stop beating briefly whenever there was a minor issue. We had to assume that it would do so for a longer period in some cases.
“Such an incident could lead to serious complications such as ventricular fibrillation.”
The complex procedure has reportedly been carried out only four times in the world, two of which Dr Kokturk was in charge.
Roxy said she would never forget her first post-operation meal.
She said: “I was under supervision by the medical staff when I carefully ate a jam sandwich. Not losing consciousness was a sensation of indescribable joy.”
Dr Kokturk explained: “We’ve been able to rescue two patients by carrying out this kind of surgery. This is proof that the procedure is safe for further application.”
The expert added: “We could spare young people from being forced to get a cardiac pacemaker.”
Roxy concluded: “I’m happier. I feel as if I got rid of the constant presence of imminent death. I feel liberated.”
Swallow syncope is a dysautonomic syndrome which causes the loss of consciousness during or shortly after swallowing due to the reduction of blood flow to the brain through the lowering of blood pressure or cardiac arrhythmia.
Because of its rarity, the mechanism of swallow syncope is still being investigated by scientists.