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Danny80, August 25,  2020  7:43am EST

Just looking for hope from any survivors or family of survivors in a dark time.

Good morning everyone.

I'm the son of someone who just had a massive cardiac arrest. I'm just looking for any stories and advice for survivors of massive cardiac arrest episodes for some hope right now. I found my mother on Saturday afternoon unresponsive after just talking to her a minute early and leaving her bedroom to make a call. She was worked on for 30 minutes to start her heart again in total between the EMS response crew and the ER team at the hospital. I know that 30 minutes without a heartbeat is a very long time. The prognosis from the doctor isn't very good for her not having a pulse for so long. Within hours she was breathing under her own power again, and her heart rate is now normal and stabilized but she is still not conscious. I just wanted to hear from survivors or family members who have had similar circumstances and beaten the odds. Thanks to everyone ahead of time and best wishes for all of your recoveries or those of your loved ones.

8 Replies
  • Danny80
    Danny80, August 25,  2020  10:24am EST

    Thank you so much, Katie, and best of luck to you.

  • texascubbie
    texascubbie, August 26,  2020  1:01pm EST


    First, I hope your mom is progressing well. Second, I can share some of my own story. July 4, 2019, I had a "widowmaker" heart attack and 2 cardiac arrests. I was 48, long time vegetarian, but under significant work stress. There wasn't a warning, and overall I spent 59 days in four different hospitals. It's psychologically still affecting me, but the docs were quite astonished I came through it. After a stent and impella device were implanted, I developed an ischemic ("blue") right lower leg and faced amputation--but I didn't really know any of this as I was in a medically-induced coma for a few weeks. Surgeon was able to remove the clots the impella seemed to cause, and I still have all my limbs and digits.

    My hospitalization was a mixed bag, but the urgent care ER docs, the first place I went after the HA at home, did a great job in stabilizing me. I talked to them later and they said they went into autopilot and did everything they knew to do to ensure I would survive. I was unconscious for a long time, which seems to have brought on some weird dreams/delusions I wished I'd been warned of, but the nurses were invaluable once I woke and could talk.

    I will say it has been a very long rehab and is still ongoing, but I wanted to share a pretty rare survival story. At least, rare enough my docs are befuddled by it. It was difficulty on my family, as I'm the youngest sibling, and on  my husband. But they're all, and I am, happy I'm still here, in spite of the drama.

    Best of luck to you!

    Sam MB

  • Danny80
    Danny80, August 27,  2020  10:37pm EST

    Hi, Sam.

    Thanks for sharing, I'm so happy to hear you've made out the other side of this. My mom had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest. Apparently her lower heart chambers were still trying to pump blood and when her heart was restarted it showered her body with clots. There was a close call for a few days this week with her left arm. There was almost a serious risk of her losing her hand or forearm, but it's thankfully returning to normal after getting purple from slowed down blood flow. She's stable now thankfully, not awake yet, breathing on her own and her heartbeat is stabilizing, but still a little rapid, it hovers around 100-110 but spikes up to the 130s if she's agitated, which is what happened today when some of the fill-in nurses were not on the ball like the regular ones, and she was trying to expel the build-up of mucus on blood and she hit 140 from the stress. Thankfully I was there and immediately called for the nurse, even the head nurse had to give them a dressing down for being so lax. The usual nurses I've met this week have been super attentive, apparently, they had their off days in the middle of the week and people are filling in.  I'm preparing mentally for a very long road, taking it a day at a time now. 

    Best to you going forward and continued health!


  • NewPacer73
    NewPacer73, September 1,  2020  6:42am EST

    I had a cardiac arrest last June, fortunately in an ambulance en route to the ER. Each case is different. My father arrested twice and lived a long life. I can tell you how it feels. It's a peaceful feeling of sleep. It's fairly rare to be a survivor, if you look it up. I think I would approach this one day at a time. I awoke to the paramedics yelling at the driver, "skip all red lights". I knew I was in trouble, I was greeted by a code blue team in ICU, where I went...skipped the ER part. My son looked much more frightened than I was. As a Mom, I would get informed from the doctors, stay hopeful, because she knows you are worried. I really pray your mom recovers to a good quality of life. A cardiac arrest is a warning sign. It takes awhile to recover, so it does take a lot out of us in recovery. Today, I am watchful, but doing really well. I truly wish she has the same outcome as me. I live a normal, but watchful, life. We Moms worry more about you than us. It's part of the job. smile. Stay hopeful. I'm so sorry your Mom had to go through that. Stay informed. 

  • NewPacer73
    NewPacer73, September 1,  2020  6:53am EST

    Daniel's effort to be an advocate for his Mom is crucial.There are some possible challenges in hospital staffing. I had some great and some not so great nurses. So really important is being there to be sure your Mom is getting great care. That's the biggest gift you can give her and it'll help her know she's not alone and will keep her relaxed in her journey to recovery.

  • Danny80
    Danny80, October 1,  2020  3:36am EST

    NewPacer73, thank you so much. I've been busy being an advocate and being at the hospital for over a month on a daily basis to reply. Thankfully my mom beat back all the small things that should kill most cardiac arrest victims; she beat sepsis, she's been awake for a few weeks, her organs kicked back in after doctors predicted she'd die within the first two weeks of her hospitalization because of ***** failure, the last issue remaining is what's going on with her brain. She's miraculously beaten everything else thrown at her over the past month, I'm hoping she's got another miracle up her sleeve. My biggest worry is the move from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility to ween her off the vent, she's already doing a lot of her own breathing but currently requires it for support.  It's been a draining month, but I'm lifted by my mom's resolve to live. Thanks to everyone's kind words and stories!  You all don't know how much they have helped me during some dark points this month.

    edit: Why is the word "*****"  as in "***** Failure" edited out like it's a swear?

  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, October 5,  2020  8:58am EST

    Hi Danny80, t

    1.  I am so glad to read the positive news about your mom. 

    2. Thank you so much for bringing the **** to our attention. I do need to confirm that you were trying to type H.E.A.R.T failure? If not, please email me at supportnetwork@heart.org what the word was, or repeat it here with spaces in between the letters so I can troubleshoot the problem. We do have a profanity filter on the site, but h e a r t does not normally trigger the ***. 

    Thanks, Katie

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