A British Woman Resurrected 6 Hours After Cardiac Arrest

In Spain, doctors reported saving the life of a British woman six hours after a heart attack. It was the hypothermia that she suffered from that made her resurrection possible.

Intensive Care

Intensive Care

“It’s like a miracle.” Audrey Marsh, a 34-year-old English woman, described what doctors were able to do for her in the emergency departments of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona as extraordinary. The doctors managed to revive her six hours after she experience a total cardiac arrest. The young woman, on her way to the Pyrenees, had suffered severe hypothermia that had caused her cardiac arrest but which also saved her life.

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Her body temperature dropped to 64.4 degrees (18 degrees Celsius).

On 3 November, this British woman living in Catalonia and her husband walked across the Pyrenees. Surprised by a snowstorm, she lost consciousness around 1 PM. When the rescue teams arrived at the scene at 3:35 PM, the young woman no longer showed signs of cardiac activity and her body temperature had dropped to 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first attempts at resuscitation were made on the spot, without success. She was then transferred to the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, which has an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Systems. This device, used for the first time in Spain for intensive care, is based on a machine that connects to the patient’s cardiovascular system and temporarily replaces the patient’s heart and lungs. The machine takes the blood from a vein, heats and oxygenates it and then reintroduces it through an artery into the body.

A Possible resuscitation thanks to hypothermia

Six hours after the rescue attempts, the doctors tried to revive the young woman whose body had been heated. “We decided to do electroshock to try to wake up her heart and it worked,” said Eduard Argudo, a resuscitation officer, at a press conference on Thursday, December 5. According to him, it is “the longest interrupted cardiac arrest that we know in Spain. There have been similar cases in the Alps and Scandinavia”.

“Hypothermia killed her and saved her at the same time. With the cold, the metabolism slows down, the organs need less blood and oxygen and this allows the brain to preserve itself”, continued the doctor.

Six days after resuscitation, Audrey Marsh was able to leave the intensive care unit. Although no neurological damages have been detected, the young woman is not yet able to use her hands completely. However, she said that she had “an almost normal life” and that she “will be back at work in the next few days”.

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