Student Revived After an Hour Makes Full Recovery
A college student was pulled back from the brink of death after his heartbeat stopped for about one hour, Taipei Veterans General Hospital said Monday.
The student surnamed Hsu, 21, suffered an acute heart failure, acute lung damages and low blood oxygen following injuries in a traffic accident.
Paramedics in the ambulance tried to resuscitate him for 19 minutes. But upon arrival at the hospital, his heartbeat had stopped.
Hsu's father said that he was very sad when doctors told him that there was only a 1 percent chance of rescuing his son and social workers were trying to calm him down and discuss the arrangements for his son's death.
After another emergency resuscitation effort that lasted for 30 minutes, the student's pulse and heartbeat gradually returned.
Huang Mu-hsun, director of Emergency Department, said that Hsu's pulse and heartbeat returned about one hour after the traffic accident.
As his heart beat and pulse were not stable, the rescue team decided to put him on a life support machine known as ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation).
He was also transferred to the intensive care ward for hypothermia therapy, which is often used for brain-damaged patients.
Chang Hsiao-huang, a heart surgeon, said a 72-hour hypothermia therapy treatment had lowered Hsu's body temperature to 33 degrees Celsius, which could lower metabolism of the brain tissue and mitigate brain damage and not allow brain pressure to rise too high.
He said that only 3.9 percent of those who arrive at hospitals without a heartbeat can be saved.
The chances of survival for those whose heartbeat stops upon arrival for over one hour is less than 1 percent.
Even if these patients are saved, they could face brain damage or paralysis, and could be in a vegetative state.
But Hsu was able to walk around eight days after the traffic accident and was discharged one and half months later, said Chen Chun-jen, a doctor at the hospital's Emergency Department.
He has shown no obvious signs of neural or brain damages so far, Chen said, saying this can be considered a "miracle."
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