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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question

Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17551
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My dad had a cardiac arrest at the weekend they brought him

Customer Question

My dad had a cardiac arrest at the weekend they brought him back he's now sedated and on a ventilator
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Could you clarify what information would be helpful?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi I would just like to know he's got through the last 3 days so does he have a good chance or survival and because he's on a ventilator does that mean he is safe from passing away?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Was the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest a myocardial infarction, a blockage of the arteries of the heart?
If so, has the doctor commented upon the size of the myocardial infarction?
If not from a myocardial infarction, what was the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He had a heart attack then they data aliased him but during the night he had a cardiac arrest
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

A heart attack is the layman's term for a myocardial infarction. A myocardial infarction is the most common cause of a cardiac arrest, but it is not the only cause.

When someone has a myocardial infarction, the risk for a cardiac arrest is greatest during the first couple days, and the risk steadily decreases thereafter. In those people that do have a cardiac arrest during the first few days in the hospital, most will be successfully resuscitated, and if resuscitated quickly, will then have a generally favourable prognosis, so yes, he has a good chance of survival. If someone was not resuscitated quickly, then there is more risk of damage that may have been sustained from the cardiac arrest, such as to the brain, but we see this more in people that have a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital. Most people that sustain a cardiac arrest will require ventilatory support, but it typically is only needed for a short period of time.

However, the primary determinant of his long-term prognosis is the severity of the myocardial infarction. As a general rule, the larger the area of damage of the heart that was sustained during the myocardial infarction, the greater the risk for any of the long-term problems that can arise from this, including the risk for a recurrent cardiac arrest. If he had a small myocardial infarction complicated by a cardiac arrest during the first couple days that was rapidly resuscitated, he will typically have a good long-term prognosis. However, if he had a larger myocardial infarction, there would be a greater risk for long-term problems.

The other major issue is to assess whether there is any ongoing poor blood supply to the heart, as the people with ongoing poor blood supply also would be at risk for a recurrent myocardial infarction, which also could be associated with cardiac arrest. The doctor would still be doing tests throughout his hospital stay to clarify his risk for ongoing problems with poor blood supply, including whether he may need a procedure to improve blood flow to the heart.

So, at this point, when considering the cardiac arrest, he probably will do well, but his doctor will have done and will continue to do tests to determine his long-term prognosis and whether any specific interventions are necessary to improve his prognosis.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Could he still have another cardiac arrest even tho he's on a ventilator and sedated?
And if his organs are failing would that mean there's nothing they can do?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
A cardiac arrest can occur while on a ventilator, as that is a function of the electrical system in the heart. There are medicines that can be used to treat the electrical system, but being on a ventilator does not affect the electrical system of the heart.

If his organs are failing, that is concerning that the resuscitation may not have been successful quickly. But whether there is something that can be done would depend upon the organ involved and the severity of the dysfunction.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If the organs are failing does that mean he would have hours to live or days? And would they just leave him sedated?

Also even tho he had a cardiac arrest the other day does it still mean he can have another? They have told me that he's fighting for his life and yo expect the worst
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
It would depend upon the clinical situation. Without knowing the details of the organ dysfunction, more specific information cannot be stated. People that are on ventilators are frequently sedated, regardless of the prognosis, so someone with a good prognosis may be sedated.

As I noted above, there is some ongoing risk for a cardiac arrest, but the risk is greatest during the first couple days and decreases thereafter, but there is some risk, so it is possible that another cardiac arrest can happen.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They are saying his lungs and kidneys are failing what's the prognosis from that?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
It depends upon the severity of the dysfunction.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What do you mean?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
If there is a greater amount of lung or kidney dysfunction, it would mean a worse prognosis,.and a lesser amount of lung or kidney dysfunction would not be as bad in terms of prognosis.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Would they do tests for this? If there was a great deal of damage the prognosis would be bleak correct does that mean he would have hours or days to live?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
They would have done tests for this. It is impossible to tell you if his prognosis would be hours or days to live without knowing much more information. The doctor that is caring for him will already know all of the pertinent information and can give you the best estimation of his prognosis.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But in your expert opinion if organ damage is great what are the chances of surivival?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Without knowing more information, it would be impossible to say. An expert opinion must be based on information, otherwise it is just guessing.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What do you need to know?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Everything that tells what level of dysfunction is present. If you are going to talk to his doctor to get this information, then you can ask his doctor what is the prognosis.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Ok then key me ask you this if they have said there's nothing more they can do due to multiple organ faliure due to the cardiac arrest would it be hours or days left?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
It is impossible to say. This would mean that there is significant risk of death within hours or days, but it would be impossible to say that it definitely would mean that he would have hours or days left.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Will they keep him comfortable?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Absolutely.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does this thing normally happen after a cardiac arrest?
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
No, because most people with a myocardial infarction that suffer a cardiac arrest in the hospital are successfully resuscitated quickly. It is in the people that are not able to be resuscitated quickly in which we may see this, and that is only the minority of people.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
This question has appeared on the question list again.
Were you trying to ask another question?

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