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45 Minutes After His Heart Stopped, Doctors Brought Back His Life

In a complex procedure that reflected its commitment to technological advancement with its path breaking work, Fortis Malar took a leap forward by using Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) to revive a man nearly 45 minutes after his heart had stopped beating. A team of cardiac experts at the centre of excellence for advanced cardiac care Fortis Malar, Chennai, led by Dr. K R Balakrishnan, Director Cardiac Sciences performed the lifesaving procedure on a 38-year-old patient. This therapy involves supporting patient with a portable heart and lung machine and cooling the temperature of the patient down to protect the brain during cardiac arrest.

38-year-old Patient from Gujarat was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy leading to end-stage heart failure. He was airlifted from Porbandar and admitted to Fortis Malar Hospital for a possible heart transplant. After being stabilised with medications, he was shifted to ward.

While awaiting a donor heart, the patient suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and was unresponsive. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was immediately started and despite attempts for over 45 minutes, there was no cardiac contraction and he was, for all practical purposes, dead. A decision was taken to use ECPR and he was put on a portable cardiopulmonary bypass machine called ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenator) while the CPR was being carried out. Doctors persisted with the treatment and his heart finally started beating after 45 minutes, he remained unconscious for 10 days, after which he woke up. Since ECMO cannot be continued indefinitely, an artificial heart pump or Left ventricular assist device (LVAD) called Centrimag was inserted to support him in the interim.

When a suitable donor heart became available, he underwent a successful heart transplant. The Patient has completely recovered, and has gone back to his home for a healthier and positive future.