Patient Comments: Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Experience

What was your experience with sudden cardiac arrest?

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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Comment from: vic, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 23

I had cardiac arrest in April 2006. They tried CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) for three minutes, couldn't bring me back and I was turning purple. They used AED (automated external defibrillator), shocked me once and brought me back. When I had the arrest I was on a spin cycle, fell off and injured my left calf. It swelled up the blood chamber and they had to drain my left calf first before I could have open heart surgery so I could walk for recovery or get out of bed. I had 5 arteries blocked so they couldn't do a stent and it had to be open heart quadruple. I was in hospital for 10 days and off work for 3 months, a financial disaster. Those people at my club saved my life, I would have been brain dead they say, if it had taken another 2 minutes. I get very depressed and sexually I'm not as active because of my age and medicine. I take three medicines. They took a vein from my right leg and one from the chest area to supply more blood to my heart. My right leg has low blood flow, so it cramps up and my legs are weak, and I feel fatigued most of the time because of bad sleep, etc. I could have blood clots in my right calf and I am seeing a venous surgeon soon.

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Comment from: skynurse, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I experienced a SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) on 4/29/13. I was relaxing on my bed and became very anxious and short of breath. My son was in his room and all I remember is saying to him "911". Five days later I came off the ventilator and was brought out of the deep sleep they kept me in. I continue to struggle with depression and the fear of it happening again. My saving grace was my son being home and immediately starting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). As a nurse and SCA survivor, I can"t stress the importance of everyone learning CPR.

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Comment from: 6454miller, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 23

My dad is 56 years old. He suffered from hepatitis C and five days ago went into cardiac arrest. He died and they brought him back and I have got mixed information on if he went an extended time with no oxygen to his brain or not. His ammonia levels were almost at 1000 when admitted to the hospital and the doctor said there was no chance he'd live more than a day or two. Here we are at day five, he's still on life support and respirator but continues to get better as far as his vitals and ammonia levels go. I refuse to let them take him off respirator, I have faith he will wake up soon.

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Comment from: Changed life forever, 55-64 Female Published: May 13

I lost my 40-year-old son to sudden cardiac arrest. His father found him 19 hours later in his home lying on the kitchen floor with the back door open. The autopsy showed that he died of coronary artery arthrosclerosis with thrombosis. I knew that my son smoked, but on the outside he looked as healthy as a horse. He had a 32-inch waist and never had any symptoms. I plead with his two brothers to get checked. I do not want to go through this heartache again.

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