Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Mantua, UT(Zone 4b)

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the tragedy we have been hearing about where healthy athletes die while playing sports. It can happen to older people, too. Many of them are caused by a condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

I work in a small Emergency Room where we have 1 doctor and 2 nurses. One of our doctors, who is in his 40's, is a fitness nut and participates in competetive biking. He lives 80 miles from the hospital and rides his bike to and from work 1 to 2 times a week.

One afternoon he was seeing a patient when I heard a crash. The patient started yelling that the doctor was on the floor. I ran toward him and yelled for the other nurse. It looked like he was having a seizure and was turned on his side. His face was absolutely PURPLE. He was breathing very deeply and rapidly at first but that soon became a gasp. He was moving so much I couldn't tell if he had a pulse. We called a CODE BLUE.

Two nurses and a doctor came within seconds and put him on a stretcher that we rolled into the Trauma Room. The Respiratory Therapist who responded was giving him oxygen. The patches were hooked to the defibrillator and I saw the strangest coarse Ventricular Fibrillation I have ever seen. I shocked him and saw his body lift off the bed. He then went into a slow, but normal rhythm with a pulse.

We have been thinking that he only lived because this happened in the ER a few feet from a defibrillator. He now has an internal defibrillator that will shock his heart if it happens again.

Later, we heard about a man who started CPR on his wife when he heard her gasp while sleeping. He called 911 and was able to keep her blood circulating until the Paramedics could arrive and shock her. She is alive because he simply knew and performed effective CPR.

Please take a CPR class if you are able to do so. The rules are much simpler than they used to be. You don't even have to breathe for the patient--just keep the blood circulating and call 911. Look up the new guidelines on the internet. You just might save a life.

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