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50-year-old woman suffered a cardiac arrest just before the surgery.
When 50-year-old Saraswati Devi from Uttar Pradesh was revived on the operating table, 20 minutes after her heart stopped beating, it was nothing short of a miracle. On August 14, Devi, a resident of Sonebhadra district, was undergoing a bypass surgery at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute to treat the 90 percent blockage in her heart. She was also a diabetic. However, just before the surgery began, she suffered a cardiac arrest on the table.
“Her heart stopped beating and her blood pressure dropped to zero. If we stopped even for a second, the heart monitor was a straight line,” said Dr. SN Khanna, Associate Director, FEHI, Delhi. The doctors wasted no time, and for the next 20 minutes, kept giving her a cardiac massage to keep pumping blood. They could then have either not gone ahead with the surgery and informed the family, or perform the bypass on a still heart. “We chose the latter. We didn’t have a second to waste. After 20 minutes of external cardiac massage, we prepped for surgery. It then took us another 10 minutes to clean her, intubate her, and open the rib cage to reach the heart,” said Dr Khanna.
Usually, lack of blood supply to the brain for over four four minutes can lead to irreversible damage; in Devi’s case, she went without supply for close to 10 minutes.
“It was difficult for us to say whether she will wake up with brain damage or not. It was only when she regained consciousness that we figured that the surgery was successful,” said Dr Khanna.
Devi was discharged from the hospital on August 24 and the doctors have since been monitoring her recuperation closely.
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