A surgical team kept a man alive with CPR for 90 minutes after suffering a heart attack.
While most patients stop responding within 20 minutes due to insufficient blood flow to the brain, this rare case in Denmark lasted more than an hour.
Every time they stopped pumping, the 69-year-old man would fall unconscious. But every time they started again, he would once again be able to respond to questions by moving his eyes.
However, during the hour and 30 minutes scans revealed no movement in his heart, and blood shifting between the layers of his aorta, which even surgery would not be able to fix.
While most patients stop responding within 20 minutes due to insufficient blood flow to the brain, this rare case in Denmark lasted more than an hour (file image)
Ultimately, they were forced to give up – but the team has now presented the case at a medical conference in Copenhagen, showing we may still have much to learn about CPR.
‘At this time, paramedics were still in the room, and CPR was initiated immediately,’ the anesthesiologist Dr Rune Sarauw Lundsgaard told CNN.
‘Due to a recent event with another patient, the cardiac arrest team was in the next room, and advanced CPR was initiated shortly after.
‘This means that two paramedics and four hospital porters were shifting in pairs of two at performing the CPR.
‘The patient had no electrical activity in the heart at any time. The heart only functioned because of the manual compressions.’
CPR is an emergency technique that will supply blood to the brain and other organs of a person who is suffering a cardiac arrest and the heart has stopped beating.
Trained staff do chest compressions and may use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to deliver a shock if needed.
Studies have found that continuing CPR for longer than 35 minutes leads to better survival rates in children, but generally hospitals stop after 20 minutes.
‘Normally, chest compressions are stopped once the patient shows signs of life or spontaneous breathing. [When] the patient moved, we stopped CPR, and immediately the patient went unconscious due to his nonfunctioning heart. This was done several times with the same result,’ Dr Lundsgaard told CNN.