Patient Comments: Sudden Cardiac Arrest - Experience

Question:

What was your experience with sudden cardiac arrest? Submit Your Comment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Quiz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest!
Comment from: Kiefer, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 31

My significant other of 14 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack while we were having sex. When I tried to give CPR it was like pushing on a flat tire, I wonder why his head went so purple/red.

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.

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.

Comment from: ocean2blue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 19

I experienced sudden cardiac death June 19, 2009 while watching a movie at home. I just suddenly fell over with no warning. My step-daughter called 911 who then talked her through CPR until First Response showed up. I had to be shocked three times before my heart started beating. I woke up eight days later in intensive care with no memory whatsoever of what happened. I spent three weeks in the hospital. I had an ICD implanted and have been home for almost seven months, healthy. Everyone should be taught CPR. Without it, I would not be here today.

Comment from: 35-44 Female Published: December 11

My wife suffered cardiac arrest one month ago. Luckily, my daughter had CPR training and she brought her back before the ambulance arrived within 8 minutes. She's making a great recovery and has an ICD inserted. She had never had a heart complaint and had no warning before going down. It was some shock, but we were lucky. CPR training should be mandatory in all schools. My daughter did it at 15 and saved her mother's life one year later.

Comment from: Doug, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

On 4/18/13, I passed out with no warning in my kitchen and hit my head on the floor. My wife sat me up and I seemed ok, but then passed out again. I went by ambulance to the emergency room (ER), and was admitted for observation because of hitting my head. Next day I underwent a full series of tests, with the doctor not liking something he saw in the stress-test, but I had no blockages and my heart muscles were healthy. I was fitted with a halter monitor. Jump to 5/12/13, at 6 am I let my dog out, and didn't remember anything until ambulance crew was working on me. I was transported to a trauma center, but had a "quack" for a doctor in the ER, who said it didn't matter that I had a heart monitor on and I just had vertigo. I was admitted because I had a major concussion because I'd hit my head on a concrete sidewalk when I passed out. When my wife got home, there was an emergency message from the cardiologist to call because of the monitor report. My wife had sense to push the button on the monitor. On 5/13/13 I saw a cardiologist-surgeon with the results and was scheduled for a pacemaker on 5/14/13. I was released for my heart on 5/16/13 to go back to work. However, I wasn't released by the neurologist to go back for several more weeks due to concussion. I don't have any heart restrictions, but still have head problems.

Comment from: Healthconscious, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 08

I lost my husband, age 36, nine months ago to sudden cardiac death. The coroner refused to do an autopsy so we have no idea what caused it. My husband did smoke, but was a "social smoker." He had no history of high blood pressure other than the high blood pressure readings he would get if he went to the hospital. He had no symptoms of heart disease and was, in general, a healthy man. Now we just need to ensure our twins are checked frequently for heart problems to make any early diagnoses.

Comment from: (Patient) Published: March 07

I'm a female 63 years old, I took an antacid for indigestion and must have felt something was wrong , cause my husband said I went to him and said call 911 I'm having an allergic reaction to the meds. I'm allergic to an antibiotic so I knew the signs, he called 911 and when he felt they weren't going to get there in time he ran across the street to our neighbor for her epipen, she ran following him, I was laying out front on the lawn, they shot me with the epipen but then I went into cardiac arrest, our neighbor was a paramedic who immediately started CPR till the paramedics got there. I died several times on the way to the hospital, my lung collapsed & when they arrived my heart was stopped, they told my husband they would do everything to bring me back. I woke up 10 days later in ICU on a respirator and then spent quite some more time in the hospital. When I got home a nurse came 3 days a week, also a PT came 4 days a week for a long, long time. I am very blessed to be alive but this was no easy recovery, I got a cracked rib and 2 broken bones in my back from the CPR & the pain lasted for month and I had to wear a metal brace. Thankfully the only lasting problem is my memory and I can live with that. I'm sorry for anyone who lost a love one.

Quiz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest!
Comment from: Georgiana Emereole, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 07

My experience is that the chances of survival is dicey, depending how quickly the person is attended to. Routine check of the heart is necessary when you experience chest pain. For some exercises people should know the state of their heart before indulging into such. People should be mindful of what to eat. Avoid being obese.

Comment from: mama_of_2, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I had a sudden cardiac arrest a few years ago, and I was clinically dead for 13 minutes. They told my family that I would be a vegetable. I was in an induced coma for six days and in the hospital for a little under a month. I had a 3-month-old daughter. I was 17 years old. I am not happily married to the man who woke up next to his dead fiancée. We have two beautiful children. I am so grateful to be alive despite the hardships that I have faced since. I had an ICD implanted in 2007, and I have had three surgeries on it because of "malfunctions." The first one, my pacing lead disconnected from my heart and was pacing my stomach so it looked as if I had the hiccups at all times. The second time, I was shocked eight times in 45 minutes, so they had to replace a wire because it was a faulty lead therefore I did not need the shocks; it was double-counting my heart rate. The third and last time, when they had replaced the wire they gave too much "slack," which needs to be there so when you move, the leads don't rip out of your heart causing multiple blood clots to travel through an artery that the wire was pressing on and into my lungs. Ever since the multiple shocks, I have yet to find a doctor that is able to fix what they did to me. The multiple shocks caused my chest wall muscles to contract and they have yet to decompress three years later. No one can figure out how. Needless to say, I am happy to have lived, to get married and have another child, but I am devastated to have to tell my daughter I cannot play because "I have a headache" a.k.a. my chest pain is too severe.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 02

The most traumatic incident in my life was the death of my beloved sister at the age of 37. She had symptoms of chest discomfort on the day but EKG examination by her GP did not reveal any abnormality. There were no 'typical' symptoms of heart disease. So she was advised to go home and take a rest. That night my sister had a cardiac arrest and nobody could revive her. Autopsy was negative except for narrowing of right coronary artery ostium and lumen but no signs of Myocardial Infarction. It is assumed that she died of VF, pulmonary edema and brain anoxia. She had no previous history of heart disease and she was healthy and active always. The only clue I have now is that she had h/o hypertension during her pregnancy but became normotensive after delivery. She had an episode of herpes zoster (shingles) infection during her first pregnancy. She did not have any screening tests before as she was a young, active, non smoker and was not diabetic. Being a doctor I just can't forgive myself for not preventing her death. (I was not with her and the news of her death was the most shocking incident in my life).

Comment from: BuckeyeFan93, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 17

My husband (age 55) collapsed at work with cardiac arrest. First responders gave CPR. When he got to the hospital he was non-responsive. He was revived, had stents put in, and placed in intensive care. He was in a coma for four days. He had oxygen depravation, and no one was sure how long he was out before CPR was started. He was taken off life support on the fourth day, and woke up the fifth day and said "hi" to the nurse. He had limited vocabulary and virtually no voluntary motor skills. When he was discharged to a nursing home after two weeks in the hospital, while he came a long way, he still could not function on his own and most times his conversation was gibberish. After 5 weeks in a nursing home with physical, occupational, and speech therapy, he was able to come home. He could dress himself, feed himself, and take care of his own personal hygiene. It is now 11 weeks since his heart attack, and he has completed physical and occupational therapy. He continues with speech therapy, but his memory is coming back, he knows he has lost some, is learning to read and write again, and can drive short distances. His speech is slurry at times, but he always makes sense. What happened to my husband is a miracle. There is no other explanation. He was a smoker all his life, but drank little. He had an active lifestyle and had no warning of heart problems. He did, however, avoid going to the doctor and practicing preventive medicine. His family doctor is very pleased with his progress and is amazed at his recovery in such a short time. Our families and I are still praying for a full recovery. What a roller coaster ride it was for me (his wife), especially the first two weeks; from going to giving his organs away and planning his funeral to having him at home now and functioning well and everything that happened in between. Sometimes when suffering comes to your door, you have to realize every person is different. The intensive care doctor, cardiologist, and neurologist all told me this, and they were right, although they were not very optimistic. I am sure hundred and hundreds of prayers contributed to his awakening and recovering so far -- and he's not done yet!

Comment from: AnnieCat, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 15

My father died of cardiac arrest after years of small episodes where his heart was able to recapture a beat. He had little medical care by choice and was an alcoholic who quit smoking some 15 years before he died. He had a cardiac catheterization 10 days before he died and ignored the cardiologist's advice about not driving across the country. His medications were yet to be titrated appropriately when he died. At catheterization, it was discovered that he had what is called alcoholic cardiomyopathy although his liver was pristine. I was told that this can happen in people who are heavy drinkers; at the time, the cause and effect of this phenomenon was unknown. At any rate, alcoholic cardiomyopathy was the direct cause of my father's cardiac arrest at the age of just 67.

Quiz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest!
Comment from: Arlene, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 07

My mother passed away from cardiac arrest on Oct 28,2013 inside a store which had no defibrillator and employees with no CPR training.

Comment from: Consuela, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 20

My brother had knee replacement surgery on both knees at the same time. He had to get one redone and he went to the hospital. He developed clots in both legs and both lungs. He went into cardiac arrest and he passed after taking him off the ventilator that afternoon.

Comment from: FAMILY, 35-44 Female Published: April 05

My father died of sudden cardiac arrest when he was 55. He was not sick. He was an active person. He just went to sleep and his heart stopped. I found out after that his mother had died of the same thing at 69.

Comment from: DEBORA, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

I am 54 year old female. Last month I was having severe back pain. I took my blood pressure at home, it was low, 87over 68. Knowing I have high blood pressure I asked my husband to take me to the emergency room, as something was wrong. At that time I never had heart problems. Ten minutes after I was at the hospital I went into cardiac arrest. The hospital worked very fast, it took thirty minutes to get my heart beat back. I woke up three days later in ICU on life support, the doctor stated I died and they brought me back. I cannot thank the doctor enough for saving my life. I am still having a lot of pain due to several broken ribs, but over all I am so thankful for being at the right place at the right time.

Comment from: akki, 13-18 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 29

A relative of mine, 17 years old, died of sudden cardiac arrest. He had never told us of chest pain or a heart pain. He was a regular soccer and occasional cricket player and had never showed signs of pain on the playground. He had played cricket that day an hour before his death, then he came home, took heavy breakfast and laid down on sofa for rest. He began talking with his brother, and said he wanted to sleep, after five minutes when the brother came back he was dead.

Comment from: S K Pattnaik, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 09

On 19 December 2010, my mother-in-law died of a sudden cardiac arrest. It was so quick that nothing could be done to save her life. My wife was with her at that time, but before she could realize that was an attack, the damage was already done. Within six minutes, I reached home and found her out of life.

Comment from: 45-54 Male Published: June 01

I lost my little brother in July 2009. In my brothers situation his ulcer ruptured and he didn't get help in time. He collapsed on the kitchen floor. I think that this was when he went into cardiac arrest, or shortly thereafter. While I was on the phone with 911 my mom and my room mate were trying to make him comfortable, and they insisted that he was mumbling that he was OK. This was relayed to the 911 operator so while we were waiting for the arrival of EMS we were not advised to start CPR. Ems arrived within 5 minutes. They stared CPR right away and kicked us out of the house into the back yard. A few minutes later another ambulance arrived as well as a fire engine and two police cars. It was at this time I realized that he was in serious trouble. It was estimated by the paramedics that his heart had been stopped for about 20 minutes total. Needless to say we had to make the decision to take him of life support 5 days later. The doctors also told us that he had suffered from renal failure as well. So this likely contributed to his death.

Comment from: Jamie, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I was 24 years old and just started working at a hospital. I was outside on a smoke break with my supervisor and a few nurses. I started to feel nauseated and turned my head to the side to let out a little burp I also felt over heated. That was the last thing I remember, when I came back too I was laying on the ground in a puddle of my own urine. The nurse said that I might have chest pain because she had to perform CPR. I was sent to another hospital and after 24 hours was discharged and told I had fainting spells and a click in my heart. No test were done except an EKG and over a year later I am still not sure what happened, why it happened, or what I should do.

Comment from: sharon, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 09

I suffered a cardiac arrest on 28th August 2009. I had no prior symptoms of a heart condition and no warning signs. From reports, I just felt faint and then passed out, came to, then arrested. If it were not for the quick response of my family and c.p.r. from a neighbor, I would not be here. I have had an I.C.D fitted, but luckily have been left with no underlying medical problems and no meds. I agree with prior post that C.P.R. should be taught as standard to all, IT SAVES LIVES.

Quiz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest!
Comment from: wmb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

When I was 26 years old I went into cardiac arrest in reaction to Mellaril (which has now been given a black box warning for causing arrhythmias). I was found in a bathroom unresponsive with fixed dilated pupils and cyanosis; no one is sure how long I'd been out. After 10 minutes of CPR I came around and was taken in-patient, but have little memory of the days and weeks afterwards. Now, at 42, I am mildly affected (some problems with memory, speech and coordination). I am thankful to be alive.

Comment from: mstacsgt, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 30

My husband passed away from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. He had two previous episodes of severe chest pain and was had negative results on a stress test except for what they considered some minor rhythm changes. In retrospect they know it should have been looked at closer and paid more attention. He was dead three weeks later. He collapsed when I was in the washroom and upon my coming out I found him on the floor and he was flat line and the defibrillator read "do not shock". There had been an Officer in the area and arrived within 2 minutes of my call and they had the defibulator with them. His eyes were fixed and dilated. Obviously with more appropriate follow-up on the warning incidents there may have been a different outcome. Please be proactive for your family and ask for any additional testing that could be more definitive for your family member. Their life is at stake. My career police officer husband left this world at the age of 54 and hopefully they can learn something that will prevent someone else from experiencing the same fate.

Comment from: Sweetdeal698, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 30

In February, I was playing basketball in a league at a local rec center and just fell over. (I was 55 at the time.) They say I was out for 4 - 5 minutes. I ended up in ICU where I had 3 stents implanted. I can't really remember much from the night it happened (Wednesday) until Sunday afternoon. I was released on Saturday and the Doctor said I was good to go. NO RESTRICTIONS! I was back playing basketball 10 days later. Doctors said that I had no damage and could do as I please. Prior to the arrest, I was being treated for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. All of these problems ran in my family. I can only attribute my fantastic recovery to quick action on the part of gym personnel, EMT's, doctors, past exercise and faith and trust.

Comment from: ingriddavis, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 17

This must be one of the most traumatic, horrific experiences for anyone, to witness a sudden cardiac death of a loved one. Last fall, my husband of 33 years, having just finished a busy morning on his tractor, and lunch, was walking across the room, and DROPPED! I mean dropped like an oak tree. I was 10 steps away, and ran for the phone, listening to one horrible groan. When I got back, about 40 seconds later, with 911 on, he was sightless, and still. I attempted CPR, but nothing, just nothing. He was gone by the time the first responder arrived about 5 min later. Our family, our lives, have been devastated. I am AMAZED, how little can be done for this, how little we even hear about it, unless someone like Jackson dies too. I feel EVERYONE who has heart disease should have an implantable defibrillator. I am also appalled at the medical profession, and their lack of concern about people with heart disease. This dying, apparently, is quite common in middle aged men. Usually there is underlying problems, often known. I have heard of more people who have lost loved ones like that.

Comment from: 45-54 Male Published: August 17

I just lost my 49 year old husband to myocarditis. It was a very sudden and unexpected death. He was very healthy but got addicted to those energy drinks which made his heart beat irregular and so there were no systems. We had just gone for a 75 mile ride on his new bike and got home watching a movie and next thing I knew he was gone. Had he not drank those energy drinks that are one the shelves in most every store you go to maybe we would have known that something was wrong.

Quiz: Sudden Cardiac Arrest!
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