Australian woman saved 42 minutes after cardiac arrest

41-year-old Vanessa Tanasio from Narre Wallen, a Melbourne suburb, was brought back to life after a cardiac arrest lasting 42 minutes. This was an intervention that seemed miraculous but was in fact the result of the correct management of a cardiac emergency by the whole rescue team: effective immediate CPR by first responders, followed by the work of the emergency cardiology team at Monash Medical Centre in Clayton who operated on the woman using a piece of new-generation equipment called Lucas 2.

The woman had had a heart attack and collapsed at home, and was then treated by paramedics in a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) who used a defibrillator to “re-start” her heart and stabilise her condition. Once at the hospital, Vanessa Tanasio had a second cardiac arrest on the operating table. In this case the Lucas 2 was used to keep her vital organs supplied with oxygenated blood by automatically compressing the woman’s chest for over 30 minutes.

While this was happening, the doctors carried out an emergency angiogram and then intervened with angioplasty to successfully eliminate the blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. The woman was well enough to be able to return home just a week later, with no after-effects.

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