Well - Summer 2014 - page 10-11

| SUMMER 2014
SUMMER 2014 |
in the deep freeze, patients like Ziegler
are slowly thawed. But there are no
guarantees that SCA victims will
regain consciousness, much less
resume a normal life.
Family, friends and the Los
Robles medical staff waited
anxiously when Leslie was
awakened fromher coma.
Remarkably she was able tomake
a full recovery and has no resi-
dual symptoms.
Subsequent tests revealed that her
heart rhythmmalfunction was caused
by a prolonged QT interval, a rare
inherited heart condition in which the
pauses between heartbeats last too
long. This can upset the careful timing
of the heartbeat and trigger dangerous
heart rhythms.
Surgeons have since inserted an
implantable cardioverter defibrillator
(ICD) into Leslie’s chest wall. The tiny,
battery-powered device is connected to
her heart with thin wires. If it detects an
abnormal heartbeat, it emits an electri-
cal shock to restore the normal rhythm.
Leslie had another scare in October.
She had gone hiking early one Saturday
morning, and when she got home she
ambitiously decided to clean out the
garage. After hauling around boxes, she
felt a bit winded but just figured she was
tired from her strenuous chores.
She went into the kitchen to make
lunch when the phone rang. That’s the
last thing she remembers. She awoke
several seconds later in a fetal position
on the floor, with the phone noisily
blaring a signal that it was off the hook.
“This was very frightening,” Leslie
recalls. Her husband took her to the
hospital, where she spent the night.
Doctors worried she had an
aneurysm—a condition where blood
collects in the brain, which can be fatal.
(Actress Natasha Richardson died from
a similar condition after sustaining a
concussion during a seemingly minor
ski mishap.) A series of tests revealed
her heart had stopped again, but this
time the defibrillator went into action
Take Two
It’s truly a miracle and
I’m alive because of a series
of lucky coincidences.
Leslie has made
a full recovery
with no residual
Therapeutic hypothermia, a
procedure in which the body is chilled
after a sudden cardiac arrest, has
become common practice to prevent
brain damage. Cardiac arrest is fatal
80% to 90% of the time. And even
when victims make it to the hospital,
about half of the survivors suffer
irreversible brain damage when the
heart starts beating again, because
the sudden rush of blood into the
oxygen-starved tissues triggers a toxic
biochemical reaction.
Cooling the body to about 91º can
suppress these reactions and preserve
cell health, numerous studies have
shown, greatly improving functional
survival rates. Chilling techniques can
include ice packs, cooling blankets
or intravenous injections of ice cold
saline (the method used at Los Robles
Hospital). Patients are heavily sedated
for up to 36 hours: about 24 hours of
cooling and up to 12 hours to slowly
warm the body back to a normal
temperature of 98.6º.
“Neurological recovery increases by
anywhere from 50% to 100%,” says Dr.
Dev, who initiated this program four
years ago at Los Robles Hospital—the
first facility in Ventura County to use
this internal cooling technique to treat
victims of sudden cardiac arrest.
and restored her normal heart rhythm within 10 seconds.
“It’s truly a miracle, and I’m alive because of a series of lucky
coincidences,” says Ziegler, ticking off all the elements that
converged to save her life. “I wasn’t alone. My son thought to call
911 right away. My husband is a good listener and was able to
calmly follow the dispatcher’s CPR instructions. I live close to the
hospital, and it has an advanced trauma and cardiac care unit.
Otherwise, I would have been dead.”
Tim Wood takes a break from his
workout to reflect on his skating
career and successful surgery.
Hip replacement helps former
Olympian skate again
Written by Beth Howard
Photographed by Remy Haynes
To find a Los Robles Hospital physician specializing in
cardiac care, please call our physician referral line toll-free
at 877-888-5746 or visit us at LosRoblesHospital.com.
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