Well - Summer 2014 - page 8-9

| SUMMER 2014
SUMMER 2014 |
Written by Linda Marsa
Photographed by Marco Franchina
Leslie Ziegler relaxes at
home wih her husband,
Glenn, and son, Robert.
t was an unremarkable
Saturday in April 2013.
Leslie and Glenn
Ziegler had attended
their son Robert’s track meet
that morning. Then the family
grabbed sushi for lunch
before heading home to watch
some movies—when the
unthinkable happened.
“Oh my god, I can’t breathe,”
Leslie suddenly gasped and
collapsed into unconscious-
ness in her chair. “It felt like
the life was being sucked out
of me,” she recalled later. Little
did anyone know that she was
clinically dead.
Stunned, Glenn looked over
and saw his wife was turning
blue, indicating a lack of
oxygen. But Robert, who was
then 14, had learned what
to do in just such a situation
in his seventh-grade health
class. He immediately called
911, which probably saved his
mother’s life.
The dispatcher instructed
Glenn how to do CPR (cardio-
pulmonary resuscitation), the
chest compressions that keep
oxygen-rich blood circulating
to the heart and vital organs
even when the heart stops.
Within a few precious minutes,
the paramedics arrived and
used a defibrillator to shock
her heart back to life and then
rushed her to the ER at Los
Robles Hospital, which was
less than a mile away.
Doctors ran a series of tests,
including a CT scan and an
electrocardiogram, which
revealed she had no blood
clots or blockages in her
arteries that would indicate
she had a heart attack. Instead
Leslie had suffered a sudden
cardiac arrest caused by a
ventricular fibrillation, a
condition that occurs when the
lower chambers of the heart
quiver rather than contract
properly because of an
electrical short circuit.
“This is a potentially
lethal heart arrhythmia that
can cause cardiac arrest,”
says Vishva Dev, MD, the
cardiologist at Los Robles
Hospital who treated Leslie.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)
is an often fatal condition
that occurs when the heart
suddenly stops beating,
sometimes with no warning,
and claims more than 350,000
lives annually—more than
AIDS, traffic accidents, and
breast, prostate and colorectal
cancers combined. This is
often misunderstood as a
massive heart attack, which is
when there’s blockage in an
artery that stops blood flow to
the heart.
But a sudden cardiac arrest
is triggered by a malfunction
in the heart’s electrical system,
causing a disruption in the
rhythm. Without immediate
intervention, the victim almost
always dies—and survival odds
drop by 10% for every minute
that passes without CPR after
a collapse. Even if bystanders
start CPR right away, only
about 10% of people who have
an SCA outside a hospital
setting are able to eventually
resume their normal lives.
But Leslie Ziegler was one of
the fortunate few because she
got the right treatment quickly.
Once she was in the hospital,
doctors put her in an induced
coma and chilled her body
temperature to about 91 º by
using intravenous injections of
a cold saline solution in order
to prevent brain damage.
While researchers don’t
fully understand why, studies
suggest that lowering a patient’s
body temperature protects
tissues from injury because it
allows the body to get by with
less oxygen. After 24 hours
How CPR, ICE and a highly
trained team of physicians saved
the life of a Thousand Oaks mom.
1,2-3,4-5,6-7 10-11,12-13,14-15,16