Laura: This is my story
Over 300,000 people have their hearts stop suddenly (suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest or SCA) yearly in
the United States alone. Most survivors return to their home and back to their usual activities. Of these
survivors, many were previously healthy.
Since the AHA Guidelines 2000 we have been taught that for every minute that passes between
collapse and defibrillation, survival rates from witnessed sudden cardiac arrest decrease close to 10%.
When bystander CPR is provided, the decrease in survival rates is more gradual and averages 3% per
minute. That’s like an additional 7 people out of 100 that will survive or 21,000 people per year!
One such person is Laura and this is her story of survival:
In earlier months my boyfriend had taken a CPR training course through his work. On the night of my
sudden cardiac arrest, he began CPR while ringing for an ambulance. Fortunately, they arrived minutes later.
Re-establishing blood flow to the vital organs is the single most important factor for successful resuscitation when the duration of cardiac arrest is prolonged.
– Professor Wanchun Tang, MD
As the ambulance arrived, paramedics soon reached me with a defibrillator. After three shocks, they
got a pulse and escorted me straight to hospital. Upon arrival, the hospital staff were
extremely alert and kept my family updated at all times. Procedures to restore my heart to a normal
rhythm began straight away. I was put into a coma and my body cooled or ‘frozen’ for three days; I was
very poorly. In total, I was in hospital for approximately two weeks. Before having my operation (I was
recommended for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), I remember being in hospital and
watching a documentary about Fabrice Muamba and was stunned! I couldn’t believe I had suffered just
like he did and also share the same birthday! It made me feel more at ease going into my operation to
see people like him still living their life.
After coming out of hospital, I feel so lucky to have a second chance at life, however
I did feel slightly hopeless and very tired but I know this is completely normal. With the help from my
cardiac rehab program, I feel like a new person and I’m now living my life to the full. I couldn’t ask for
more, from the help I have had from family and friends and most of all from my boyfriend for saving my life.