Rumson Resident, Recounts Recovery After
Sudden Cardiac Arrest on Tennis Court

While 78-year-old 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.

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