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Following successful resuscitation in the emergency unit, the patient was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: A 27-year-old patient underwent 90 minutes of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) after a cardiac arrest, and regained full brain function.

In a statement on Monday, Tawam Hospital said the male patient had come to the hospital with sudden onset of severe shortness of breath two hours before arrival. Within minutes, he went into cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating due to low oxygen levels and low blood pressure. Although COVID-19 pneumonia was a concern, the sudden nature of deterioration prompted the hospital’s emergency team to do a bedside heart scan, which then suggested a massive pulmonary embolism, or large blood clots in the lungs.

Prolonged mechanical resuscitation

“We started advanced cardiac life support using our newly purchased device — the CORPULS CPR. We also gave him thrombolysis with a particular medication called Alteplase. This was delivered through the vein for over two hours to break the blood clots. In addition, the cardiopulmonary resuscitation was carried on for 90 minutes so that we could give ample time for both the medication [chemically] and for the CORPULS machine [mechanically] to break the blood clots,” the hospital statement said.

Following successful resuscitation in the emergency unit, the patient was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, where experts from Cardiology, Pulmonology, Nephrology, and Haematology teams provided additional input for his care.

Rare case of survival

According to Tawam, about one in four in-hospital cardiac arrest patients usually survive. However, patients who suffer arrest with massive pulmonary embolism have a mortality rate of up to 95 per cent. In addition, it is rare for those who survive to regain intact neurology or brain function, especially after prolonged resuscitation. The hospital also explained that CPR is usually carried out for only about 20 minutes, and if patients do not recover, the resuscitation is often stopped.

“The new CORPULS device enabled us to carry out prolonged resuscitation without team fatigue. Altogether, this enabled the patient to survive the near-certain death condition and be discharged home with intact brain function. Only a few cases worldwide have survived with full neurological outcome after such prolonged resuscitation,” the hospital said.