Mayo Clinic Anesthesiologist Revives Patient After 96 Minutes

Roger White, MD, an anesthesiologist at Mayo Clinic, revived a patient whose heart stopped beating for 96 minutes following a heart attack in January, according to an NPR report.

Howard Snitzer collapsed in front of a Minnesota grocery store in January and had no pulse for an hour and a half. After 96 minutes, emergency room physicians said there was nothing more they could do for the patient.

Despite the bleak outlook, one of the nurses who had arrived with the emergency helicopter suggested the team try capnography, a procedure that measures how much carbon dioxide is expelled with every breath. The information helps physicians and emergency medical personnel understand whether a patient is hyperventilating or having a heart attack, as well as whether CPR is working.

Through capnography, Dr. White determined that Mr. Snitzer could be saved if the physicians could stop the fatal heart rhythm. The team shocked the patient's heart 12 times and administered intravenous drugs to restore a pulse and regular heartbeat, and Mr. Snitzer was airlifted to the Mayo Clinic.

According to the report, capnography gives physicians a way to assess blood flow to vital organs without feeling for a pulse or assessing dilated pupils — methods that are prone to error. Without the information from capnography, the physicians would have reasonably made the decision to stop CPR.

Related Articles on Anesthesia:

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Awareness Under Anesthesia More Likely With Bispectral Index Protocol

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