Mumbai: Young woman survives cardiac arrest after one-hour chest massage

MUMBAI: Looking at 33-year-old Asha Saxena smile in a hospital ward on Friday, it is difficult to guess that she was close to death for an hour last Sunday. She had no heart rate or respiration as she suffered cardiac arrest while preparing meals for her children and husband at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS).

Doctors and nurses at TAPS hospital persisted in giving her a cardiac massage and shocks for an hour to revive her. She was then transferred 100km away to Jupiter Hospital, Thane, where she underwent emergency angioplasty.

Asha has no recollection of Sunday’s happenings. “When my husband told me I had a stent in my artery, I couldn’t believe it until I saw the puncture marks,” she said, waiting for discharge on Monday.

Asha had lost 7kg in a couple of months due to exercises and diet. “I had a pain in my left arm for a few weeks, but neither me or the doctors I visited suspected any heart problem,” she said.

Cardiologist Vijay Surase, who operated on Asha, said, “Young women are believed to have natural protection against heart attacks... but Asha’s husband was quick to recognize the symptoms of heart problem and rush her to hospital.” He added, “Moreover, the persistent CPR and clotbusting medication given by TAPS medical team made a big difference.’’ Asha complained of uneasiness and chest pain around 11 am. “Her ECG didn’t show any changes and her chest pain vanished,’’ said her husband Ashish. However, in the next 15 minutes, the pain returned and she was rushed to ICU.

Dr P R Das, senior medical officer, said, “We began CPR... A team of two doctors and three nurses took turns over the next hour to revive her.’’ They gave her two shocks using a defribillator. The second shock revived her, but she had hyper movements. At Jupiter Hospital, doctors rushed her to the cath lab for an angiography after scans ruled out brain stroke. “It showed fresh blood clot from one of the major blood vessels,’’ he said. One stent was placed in the main vessel. She was in coma state for two days because of decreased blood and oxygen supply to brain.

Dr Prafulla Kerkar, who heads the cardiology department of KEM Hospital, said the episode reveals the importance of chest compressions. “Everybody should learn to perform cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Lives can be saved not only within the hospital but even outside,’’ he said. Cardiologist Dr Ganesh Kumar from L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, said, “Giving CPR ensures that the heart’s muscles don’t go into standstill after which revival is difficult.”

Dr N O Bansal, who heads the cardiology department of JJ Hospital, said CPR can produce result within five minutes or could continue for an hour or more, depending on whether the patient's vital parameters improve during the procedure. “It is credible that the medical team carried on,” he said.

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