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U.K. Hospital Revives Man With No Heartbeat After 3.5 Hours

Fri, 01/28/2011 - 5:11am

(BUSINESS WIRE) After receiving more than 20,000 mechanically-performed chest compressions over 3-1/2 hours, Croydon University Hospital in London recently revived a 53-year-old man from sudden cardiac arrest. The company used a ZOLL AutoPulse support pump until the man's pulse returned.

"He had no pulse or heartbeat when he arrived at the hospital, so it is amazing that we were able to resuscitate him. I've not seen anything like it in 15 years in the emergency department," said Nigel Raghunath, M.D., who heads the hospital's emergency unit. The patient, an East London engineer, was found lying unconscious in the street and hypothermic in temperatures of 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C) when he was rushed to the hospital, where he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Fortunately for him, he came under the care of two of the leading resuscitation experts in England, Dr. Raghunath and Russell Metcalfe-Smith, Clinical Lead for Resuscitation at Coydon. The patient was placed on the AutoPulse, which delivered 80 compressions per minute, allowing the team of medics to perform other life-saving therapies. "Even a fully-trained professional finds it hard to deliver consistent, high-quality chest compressions when attempting to resuscitate someone whose heart has stopped beating. The AutoPulse means we can carry on helping someone's heart to beat for much longer - improving blood flow to vital organs and increasing their chances of recovery," said Dr. Raghunath.

"Without the AutoPulse, we would have needed relay teams of people continually performing chest compressions while we worked around them. With the clock approaching three and a half hours, the patient's pulse returned and his heart flickered back to life," said Metcalfe-Smith. "This is the stuff you read about in medical journals, but never expect to experience firsthand."

Croydon was the first hospital in the United Kingdom to use the AutoPulse when it was installed four years ago, and the first in Europe to standardize on its use for every cardiac arrest in the facility. The hospital also experiences one of the highest cardiac arrest rates in London in the Emergency Department, according to Metcalfe-Smith, with around 350 cardiac arrest cases brought into the department each year and another 185 in-hospital arrests.

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