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“Quite a Journey” – as shared by a Mount Auburn Hospital cardiac patient on Facebook

Heart PatientFrom what my son tells me, I “dropped dead” on Father’s Day playing tennis. More precisely, I suffered “sudden cardiac arrest” due to a ventricular fibrillation caused by an electrical malfunction of my heart.

I was taking a couple of practice serves and I suddenly felt dizzy. I was unconscious before I had halfway fallen. For more than 15 minutes, I had no pulse and was not breathing on my own. But quick CPR kept blood and oxygen flowing to my brain and a defibrillator eventually restarted my heart.

By chance, on the next court, was Mount Auburn Hospital’s Dr. Peter Maggs, a cardiac-thoracic surgeon. He immediately came over and started CPR within about a minute. EMTs arrived about 7 minutes later. They took over CPR with a special machine that automatically applies 100 2-inch compressions every minute. They then started the defibrillator. It took four rounds before my heart started beating on its own. It had been more than fifteen minutes after I collapsed and my heart stopped beating on its own.

The EMTs transported me to Mount Auburn Hospital, where I spent two days receiving excellent care. Even before I arrived, the EMTs had phoned ahead and provided relevant information so that the ER was fully prepared to begin treatment the minute I arrived. I had various tests, including a CAT scan, cardiac catheterization, EKGs and assorted blood tests. The doctors were able to rule out any arterial problems and to confirm that the cardiac arrest was not due to a heart attack. The final diagnosis was ventricular fibrillation caused by an irregular heartbeat - an arrhythmia.

Today, I have resumed all my normal activities, including tennis, squash, and yoga. With a new defibrillator/pacemaker implanted in my chest and several special meds, there should not be a recurrence of what happened. I’m feeling that I have a very positive and optimistic prognosis to report.