Learning to live with the effects of a heart attack: long-term drug therapy: anticoagulant drugs

WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF CARDIAC ARREST: HOW DO I RECOGNISE THAT A CARDIAC ARREST HAS TAKEN PLACE BEFORE I CAN TAKE ANY ACTION?

A. This reminds me of an incident a few years ago. A patient in his mid-forties had had a hectic day, and in the evening came, along with his son, to consult me for his angina. I had barely started with the examination, when I noticed that he had suddenly stopped talking and his head had dropped. We managed just in time to hold him from falling down from the stool on which he was sitting. His face had become ashen grey. Neither the pulse could be felt nor the heart beat could he heard. A thump or two on his chest did not revive him. We quickly laid him on the floor. By now he had become blue and had a convulsion like epilepsy. External cardiac massage was started immediately. In a couple of minutes the pulse returned, his face twitched, he gave a cry and opened his eyes. His facial colour also returned to normal. He was confused for a few minutes, then started talking normally. He was lucky that the cardiac arrest did not take place while on the way but occurred in my clinic. However, he was not so lucky two vears later.

I taught his son the method of giving external cardiac massage, and told him to practise the same and to teach everyone at home, so that in case of a future contingency it would be useful. But it seems the boy did not understand the seriousness of what had happened.

About two years later an electric short circuit occurred in the patient's house resulting in a fire. With restless energy the patient started putting off the fire, and as a result of the high degree of exertion and excitement, just dropped dead - another cardiac arrest. The members of the family were unprepared for such a happening. Instead of attempting immediate resuscitation they ran to the telephone to call me or any doctor who could come. When two of us arrived it was too late. He was beyond cure. This case illustrates what happens when a cardiac arrest takes place.

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Cardio & Blood-?holesterol