96 Minutes Without A Pulse? Naw Man, I’ll Be Fine

05.04.11 7 years ago 3 Comments

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There’s two things that I’m particularly proud of on any given day. Part one of that would be the beautiful mane of brown hair that flows from my skull and runs down the back of my neck like some hairy waterfall, the second would be my throbbing, rhythmic, ever-beating pulse. What did you think I was going to say? And just for the record, usually when a person removes that whole “pulse” thing from the equation, especially for 96 minutes, they die…well, at least sometimes.

Recently, a 54-year-old man collapsed outside a rural Minnesota grocery store, not something that normal people usually tend to do. By chance, a bystander along with a trained first responder (who happened to be in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time) began to administer CPR until paramedics could arrive 5 minutes later. Upon arrival, the response crew picked up right where the good Samaritans had left off (that’s how CPR works, kids), but still they could not revive the unconscious man. Thirty minutes later, and still without a pulse, paramedics then delivered six defibrillation shocks to the dude, as an emergency helicopter crew landed to take over. Still without any luck whatsoever in reviving the man, the Mayo Clinic flight crew delivered six more shocks (we’re counting 12 total defibrillation shocks now) and miraculously managed to jump start the pulse. In all, the crew estimates the man was pulseless for 96 minutes. Not bad for an alive guy.

“Compressing the chest in a cardiac arrest victim is a very fatiguing process, and it requires a fresh rescuer to rotate,” Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and cardiac care specialist Dr. Roger White said in a statement. “And that’s what we had available to use–people who were able to help us to continue this effective chest compression effort.”

Capnography, which is more frequently used in operating rooms, measures the concentration of carbon dioxide (which provides information on blood flow) through the lungs, which then goes on to other organs. It was because this man’s measurements remained sufficiently high that the emergency team stuck with CPR for such an unusually long amount of time. [CNET]

After the jump you can watch Dr. Roger White discuss the 96 minute pulseless case and its potential impact on future medical practices. Pretty cool to think about medical journals someday containing a chapter called Best Magic Trick EVER.

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