Patient Comments: Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Experience

What was your experience with sudden cardiac arrest?

Comment from: gerryann, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 01

I'm 68 years old. I have a busy life, and am overweight. I had an asthma attack which led to cardiac arrest. My son found me, called 911 and did CPR. I was shocked, put in hospital, put in coma and had temporary pacemaker installed, sent to another hospital and had permanent pacemaker put in. All arteries were clogged. They cleaned out the arteries with a rotor router. I was in hospital for 2 weeks, rehabilitation 2 weeks and sent home. I lost 40 pounds. It has been 7 weeks and I'm still weak a lot of the time. I have my good days but tired a lot. I want to return to work. I wonder when I will start feeling stronger every day not just every other 2 days.

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Comment from: Tigerkc67, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 26

On May 11, 2015 at 9 am I experienced sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). I had returned to work at from my break and was talking with my co-worker. He said I looked back at him, gave a smile then just collapsed. At first he thought I was joking, then realized I was not breathing. He yelled for a manager who happened to be a retired navy nurse. It was a few minutes from the time I went down till she began CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). They called 911 and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) arrived 12 minutes later. They shocked me 5 times, then got a weak pulse so then rushed me out to ambulance where I crashed again. They continued CPR and shocking until hospital. There they continued until they got me started again. I was told I was clinically dead for 30 plus minutes and shocked over 20 times. They immediately started therapeutic hypothermia lowering my core temperature to 91 for 24 hours, and then warming me up. Upon warming up I had total kidney failure, liver took a huge hit, pneumonia and ammonia levels went sky high. I was in ICU for 18 days of which I was unresponsive for 14. After 7 days they took me off of sedation but I never became responsive until day 15. I could squeeze fingers but that was all for my responsiveness. After 17 days they gave me a tracheotomy. On day 18 I was transferred to a specialty hospital. There I slowly regained consciousness. I also found out while in ICU I obtained a stage 2 on left buttock and stage 4 ulcer on right which needed immediate surgery. I was in specialty hospital for 1 month and learned how to walk again with walker. I was released home with home healthcare for pressure ulcer wound care. I was back to work within two months. After seeing two cardiologists with stress tests, heart catheter and other tests, they stated they cannot find what might have caused the SCA. I was told I have a strong healthy heart with minimum plaque build-up, less than someone normal with my age. They also used the word fluke to describe what happened. It was not until after I saw a rhythm specialist and 7 months later did I get my ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator). I'm seeing a therapist for depression and PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) from the event. I'm scared sometimes to be alone not knowing. To this day, no one can tell my why. Just that it happened for some reason or the signal to your heart just turned off. It's been over a year and I've been healthy ever since. I do have anoxic brain injury but they don't know to what extent. I love life.

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Comment from: Gerry, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 11

I had sudden cardiac arrest at about 8:00 PM on a Saturday night in March 2013. I was sitting in my recliner watching television. My wife was upstairs frosting a cake and heard some strange noises. She found me unresponsive. She got my son who was home from college that weekend. He started CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) while my wife called 911. A policeman with an AED (automated external defibrillator) was right around the corner. He shocked me 4 or 5 times and my heart restarted. I got shocked 2 more times in the ambulance. They didn't like my chances at the hospital. They told my wife that if I lived I was not going home after the hospital. Some rehabilitation would be required. It was estimated I was out 10 minutes. The doctors decided to chill me. I woke up Tuesday morning pretty much in one piece. I remember nothing from about 4 hours before it happened until I woke up Tuesday. I got an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) on Wednesday and went home on Saturday. I did not have high blood pressure or any blockage. Fifteen years of EKGs showed only a left bundle branch block. It turned out that I had obstructive and central sleep apnea. My wife had been telling me of my loud snoring, gasping for breath and twitching at night. If anybody tells you this, get a sleep study right away. You don't get much luckier than me. Except for a couple of minor restrictions, I have resumed my normal life.

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