A young mother made a miraculous recovery in hospital despite doctors being unable to detect a heartbeat for 72 hours.
The woman, whose name was withheld, was taken to the First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University in China’s eastern Fujian Province. Her husband brought her to the hospital on his back at 7:58pm om New Year’s day.
The woman was unconscious and had no heartbeat.
Medics said she suffered from ventricular fibrillation, which is when the heart quivers instead of pumping blood around the body. She was eventually diagnosed with acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
The team of doctors performed chest compressions for 20 minutes before switching the young woman to life-support system ECMO – extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation – replacing her heart and lung functions with the device, Mirror reports.
In spite of all the efforts made by doctors, the woman remained unresponsive two hours later. Her pupils dilated, and her vital signs failed to return.
By clinical standards, the woman was dead, but the doctors refused to give up.
Doctor Zhang Minwei explained:
I felt that her illness happened too suddenly. At 26 she was still in her prime, and she had no history of diseases.
It was my opinion that we needed to create the conditions for even the slimmest chance of survival.
The patient was kept in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and various other instruments were used to regulate her bodily functions, including respiratory devices and renal replacement therapy.
After 72 hours, a ‘miracle’ happened as her heart restored partial function. By January 7, it was beating on its own. She is now in stable condition and is able to eat by herself. She remains in intensive care as medics continue renal therapy and help her restore full function of her limbs.
The patient’s husband, surnamed Tang, said:
We spent the past few days crying. Now we’re very happy.
We have a one-year-old son at home, too. This family cannot lose its mum.
Doctor Zhang recalled the moment the patient finally came around.
She opened her eyes, so I tried speaking to her. I asked: ‘Would you like some water? Squeeze my hand for yes.’
She squeezed my hand, and that’s when I knew definitively that she had regained consciousness.