In what could be termed as a ‘miracle’, a 50-year-old woman came back to life after being declared dead at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh, leaving everyone, including the doctors surprised.
Saraswati Devi, a diabetic, was revived by a team of doctors at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute. She had undergone a stenting procedure a few months ago. She came to the hospital after she complained of chest pain recently. Her angiography report showed that her cardiac condition had worsened and she required to undergo an urgent bypass surgery.
On August 14, while she was being prepped for surgery and was wheeled into the operation theatre, she suffered a massive heart attack and her blood pressure plummeted to zero.
The doctors began to administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) in order to ensure the circulation of blood and oxygen is continued, but no signs of revival were seen on the patient. After administering the CPR for 20 minutes, the doctors decided to continue with the bypass surgery.
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Cardiac massage could not be continued constantly when the anesthesia team pressed into action and put in IV lines. Once the lines were put in place, it was challenging to reach heart which would have meant a time lag of at least 20 minutes from sterilization of the surgical site to opening up the chest cavity through a process called, ‘sternotomy’ (vertical incision is made along the sternum or the rib cage, after which the sternum itself is divided to reach the heart).
However, the team managed everything in 10 minutes.
“We had to work fast as we needed to ensure that the brain does not go without oxygen supply for too long. Medically a person is declared brain dead if the oxygen has not reached the brain for four minutes. In this case oxygen did not reach the brain for 10 minutes. Therefore the fear was that patient would suffer from severe brain impairment,” Dr S N Khanna said.
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“After the chest cavity was opened we put the patient on a cardio-pulmonary bypass to ensure circulation. It was after this that we proceeded and completed the bypass surgery. We were extremely apprehensive about the condition the patient would be in when she woke up but there was no untoward damage to her brain functions. It was nothing short of a miracle,” he added.
Dr Kousar Ali Shah said, “While the bypass surgery was successful overall, we were worried there could be issues arising in awaking the patient from anaesthesia or thereafter due to substantial lag in oxygen supply to her brain. However, her post-operative recovery was uneventful and she was extubated almost as any normal patient who would have undergone a bypass surgery. Both the cardiac surgery and anaesthesia team worked in tandem to save a precious life.”
“A case as this in the first place is rare to be even taken up for surgery post an arrest followed by an unresponsive resuscitation. I congratulate the doctors and the support staff for their perseverance and success. Saraswati Devi was discharged from the hospital on August 24th and has returned back home to Sonebhadra district in Uttar Pradesh,” he added.