Rumson Resident, Recounts Recovery After
Sudden Cardiac Arrest on Tennis Court
Bruce was enjoying a round of doubles with his friends at Monmouth Beach Tennis
Club — without any warning — he collapsed on the tennis court
from sudden cardiac arrest. Fortunately, his tennis partners were not
only good friends, but former marines. They instinctively knew to remain
calm and focused in a crisis situation. They worked together and immediately
called 9-1-1, provided CPR and called for the automated external defibrillator (AED).
Monmouth Beach Police and EMS rushed to the scene and continued CPR. They
used their AED to correct the abnormal electrical activity in the heart.
When the paramedics arrived, they inserted a breathing device and delivered
medication to stabilize Bruce’s condition as his heartbeat returned.
Bruce was transported to Monmouth Medical Center’s Emergency Department
where he received further airway support and was placed on a ventilator.
Doctors quickly ordered a battery of tests, and medications were given
to stabilize his heartbeat. He was then transported to the hospital’s
Intensive Care Unit, where a team of physicians and nurses specializing
in cardiology and neurology began therapeutic hypothermia. This specialized
treatment is designed to decreases the body’s temperature and its
demand for oxygen, which can prevent injury to the brain. Medical studies
have shown that therapeutic hypothermia can improve the neurologic outcome
of patients who experienced cardiac arrest.
After four days, Bruce was re-warmed to his normal body temperature. Diane,
his wife of 35 years, said, "If you can hear me, squeeze my hand."
Bruce squeezed. A neurological evaluation revealed there were no neurological
deficits from Bruce's sudden cardiac arrest.
Alan Lemansky, MD, the Emergency Department physician who treated Bruce,
noted, “This excellent outcome exemplifies the importance of speedy
and effective care, from the lay public's performance of bystander
CPR, immediate activation of 911, early application of the AED, performance
of advanced stabilizing techniques by paramedics and rapid transport to
a medical center with advanced cardiac and neurologic capability that
includes therapeutic hypothermia. Any break in this chain markedly reduces
the chance of meaningful recovery by a person suffering cardiac arrest."
"In the ICU we say, 'Time is brain,' so the quicker the cooling
blankets are applied the better the protection for the brain,” noted
ICU Clinical Director Maureen Bowe.
Emergency medicine and cardiology specialists at all of our Heart Centers
continually review and refine the way care is provided in cardiac emergencies
and have helped to establish the chain of preparedness in New Jersey.
Induced hypothermia therapy for people suffering cardiac arrest is available
at the Heart Center at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Monmouth
Medical Center in Long Branch, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Saint
Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.