Danish doctors were mystified by the case of a 69-year-old man from Copenhagen who remained awake while paramedics attempted to restart his heart. The man had suffered a cardiac arrest. His case was presented on Monday during the Euroanaesthesia Congress, event hosted in Copenhagen.
Patient Moved Limbs, Head, and Remained Conscious During Cardiac Arrest
Dr. Rune Lundsgaard, an anesthesiologist, recalled the strange affair of the 69-year-old who remained conscious even though his heart stopped pumping blood for more than an hour.
On Monday, Lundsgaard shared the case with his European colleagues during the annual Euroanaesthesia Congress.
According to the case report, the individual was found by the paramedics in cardiac arrest. The doctors began chest compressions and continued massaging the heart muscle for 90 minutes.
The ambulance crew noted that although the 69-year-old was in cardiac arrest, he remained awake and conscious. According to the report, the patient was aware of his surroundings and kept moving his limbs and head.
However, after more than one hour of chest compression, the medical team decided to perform an ultrasound examination. The scan revealed that the patient had suffered an aortic dissection – the artery’s walls are torn apart.
As Lundsgaard noted, this condition is almost immediately fatal. Baffling enough, the Danish man remained awake through the whole ordeal.
The paramedics also attempted to use epinephrine to jump-start his heart. Regrettably, after 90 minutes of CPR and several doses of epi, the team decided to stop the life-saving maneuvers. The patient passed away several minutes after that.
As baffling as the case appears to be, according to Lundsgaard, it’s not the only one. In fact, according to a 2014 study, approximately two percent of patients who have suffered cardiac arrest maintain consciousness even though their hearts stopped.
Image source: US Air Force