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New CPR technique revives man after 63 minutes without pulse

Thursday, Oct 27, 2011 - 03:49

Oct. 27 - The rules of how to treat cardiac arrest are being re-written at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Technology, new drug treatments, conventional CPR and the use of hypothermia are now being coordinated with great affect - in one case reviving a man who'd been clinically dead for more than an hour. Ben Gruber reports.

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Rodney Whitmore is exercising in the physical therapy wing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. It's part of his recovery regimen. Two months ago in his farm house, Rodney went into cardiac arrest. His heart stopped pumping blood and supplying oxygen to his body. Statistically, Rodney's brain should have been irreversibly damaged after just five minutes. But today, Rodney is fine... and he was clinically dead for more than an hour. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RODNEY WHITMORE, CARDIAC ARREST SURVIVOR, SAYING: "Being brought back to life….it's different." Rodney was the recipient of a revolutionary combination of treatments that saved his life and kept his brain intact. The immediate response of his wife Laurie was crucial. She began CPR - pounding on his chest to manually circulate blood through Rodney's body. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LAURIE WHITMORE, WIFE OF RODNEY WHITMORE, SAYING: "I know I was scared. I remember being very scared I also, in hindsight think, I remember that this is what I needed to do and I that point, if I wasn't doing that, I was afraid, I was alone and I was just hoping that somebody will get here." After nine long minutes, help arrived. Paramedics hooked Rodney up to a defibrillator and something relatively new - a capnography machine, normally used in anaesthetic procedures. According to Dr Roger White, who was on the phone directing the paramedics that night, the machine tells emergency responders if CPR is having the desired effect. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. ROGER WHITE, MAYO CLINIC, SAYING: "We can measure the amount of carbon dioxide that is being excreted in the lungs during chest compressions with CPR - and that is a marker of the adequacy of the blood flow provided by the chest compressions." The defibrillator recorded audio of the scene. UPSOUND - RECORDING FROM DEFIBRILLATOR - "STAY WITH US HONEY" "RODNEY, PLEASE STAY HERE" "WE ARE GETTING HELP" - MACHINE SAYING "STOP CPR - SHOCK ADVISED" Dr White says night, the capnography machine and 63 minutes of CPR saved Rodney Whitmore's life...although it took 16 electrical shocks, and a large dose of stabilizing drugs before the paramedics were able to make Rodney's heart work on its own. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. ROGER WHITE, MAYO CLINIC, SAYING: "So our next step was to induce hypothermia which was to drop his body temperature to 91 degrees Fahrenheit to keep him cold for 24 hours and gradually re-warm him." After more than a week comatose, Rodney woke up with no signs of brain damage. He remembers seeing his family waiting when he opened his eyes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RODNEY WHITMORE, CARDIAC ARREST SURVIVOR, SAYING: "I have heard stories…cause, actually from what they have told me I wasn't suppose to know them. (REPORTER: But you did.) WHITMORE ANSWERS: "I did" Dr. White hopes Rodney's story will prompt wider use of capnography. He believes the machine's ability to gauge the effectiveness of CPR will result in saved lives. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. ROGER WHITE, MAYO CLINIC, SAYING: "The most immediate interest to me is to make capnography available to the people that first get there so that the moment CPR starts they can track its performance." Rodney admits his brush with death has taken an emotional toll. He says he appreciates life more than ever and after 35 years of marriage, he finally realises how important it is to hold his wife's hand. Ben Gruber, Reuters.

New CPR technique revives man after 63 minutes without pulse

Thursday, Oct 27, 2011 - 03:49

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