Youth resuscitated after sudden cardiac arrest

He was put on ECMO support and given an angioplasty to clear blocked artery

Doctors at Kauvery Hospital have managed to help in saving the life of a 27-year-old, who suffered a cardiac arrest and was brought to the hospital beyond the window for return of spontaneous circulation.

A release by the hospital said the young man, who suffered intense chest pain at home followed by a cardiac arrest, was brought to the hospital after 20 minutes with no signs of life. Highlighting that a sudden cardiac arrest generally resulted in irreversible damage to the brain and fatality if not treated within three to five minutes, the doctors said the team tried desperately to revive the person despite the grim prognosis.

While receiving vigorous and continued cardiac resuscitation, he was put on ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenator) support to take care of the functions of the lung and heart and maintain blood flow to vital organs, said Manoj Sivaramakrishnan, senior interventional cardiologist at the hospital.

With the patient remaining on ECMO support, angioplasty was successfully done to recanalise a 100% blocked artery and thereby restoring normal flow to the heart. “ECMO support was removed after three days and to everyone’s surprise and delight, the young man sprung back to a normal conscious state with no trace of brain defect or paralysis,” he said.

Dr. Sivaramakrishnan said the patient perhaps went into a state of suspended animation during the cardiac arrest and that could possibly explain zero injury to the brain. Though the patient suffered another heart attack after four days, it was successfully treated. “This gratifying outcome is very rare, and extremely challenging to cardiologists and emergency care physicians as every second delayed will lead to severe brain damage that will cause the patient to either remain in a state of coma for the rest of the life or die,” he said.

He added that the case highlighted that timely resuscitation and ECMO supported resuscitation were crucial. “None should be sent away without immediately initiating life support resuscitation when brought with a history of a short period of unresponsiveness,” he added.

Congratulating the doctors and the medical team, Aravindan Selvaraj, co-founder and executive director, Kauvery Hospital, said the case was a high benchmark to be achieved in the field of medicine. “It was possible because of the expertise and infrastructure,” he said, adding that more awareness was needed about responding to cardiac arrests.

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