Mid-air heart attacks can be scary. A few months back, the news of a pilot suffering a cardiac arrest, slipping into coma and subsequently dying, during a flight sent a chill down the spine. It has happened with passengers too and many of them could be saved thanks to doctors or alert passengers onboard who knew how to perform CPR. (Also read: Surprising causes of heart attack everyone should know about)
Kashif N Chaudhry, Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at UPMC, recently shared a hair-raising account of a mid-air cardiac arrest in a series of tweets. He recounted how on his flight to Phoenix, a young lady in her 20s passed out after a cardiac arrest and the appropriate response and timely CPR saved her life.
“Cardiac Arrest 35,000 feet in the air. Earlier today, on our flight to Phoenix, a young lady in her 20s passed out. Screams of panic by onlookers was quickly followed by announcement of a medical emergency,” tweeted Dr Chaudhry.
“I reflexly ran to her seat. She was unresponsive, slumped over, eyes rolled back. I checked her carotid and radial pulses, she had none. We carried her on to the aisle & started CPR immediately. We quickly formed a team. My wife @NailaShereen and another cardiologist on board quickly divided tasks. While I performed CPR, the other cardiologist got an AED from the plane’s first aid kit & applied it on the patient while Naila gathered relevant history from the patient’s accompanying friends and communicated with, abd updated a medical team on the ground. Thankfully, just after 90 seconds of CPR, our patient regained a pulse and was starting to be somewhat arousable. Within 10 mins, she was able to sit up and with support, we got her back to her seat,” he further wrote in his tweets.
The plane was diverted to the nearest airport and by the time it landed, the lady was far more oriented.
The doctor said the reason he was sharing this story on twitter was “what we did today, anyone can do. YOU can, as well.”
Highlighting the importance of timely CPR, the doctor said it can make all the difference in a life and death situation, and that one must learn it to be able to potentially save somebody’s life.
“In a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. Prompt & effective CPR is often the difference between life & death. Please learn CPR. You could be in a position to potentially save someone’s life someday, and they are likely going to be a loved one,” concludes the doctor.
According to Medical News Today, here are the steps to perform CPR:
1. Call 911 or ask someone else to
2. Lay the personon their back and open their airways
3. If they are not breathing, start CPR
4. 30 chest compressions
5. Two rescue breaths
6. Repeat until an ambulance or AED arrives