Tex Heart Inst J. 2014 Apr; 41(2): 222–226.


Although survival rates after cardiac arrest remain low, new techniques are improving patients' outcomes. We present the case of a 40-year-old man who survived a cardiac arrest that lasted approximately 3½ hours. Resuscitation was performed with strict adherence to American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines until bedside extracorporeal membrane oxygenation could be placed. A hypothermia protocol was initiated immediately afterwards. The patient had a full neurologic recovery and was bridged from dual ventricular assist devices to a total artificial heart. On hospital day 160, he underwent orthotopic heart and cadaveric kidney transplantation. On day 179, he was discharged from the hospital in ambulatory condition.

To our knowledge, this is the only reported case in which a patient survived with good neurologic outcomes after a resuscitation that lasted as long as 3½ hours. Documented cases of resuscitation with good recovery after prolonged arrest give hope for improved overall outcomes in the future.

Keywords: Advanced cardiac life support/methods, cardiopulmonary resuscitation/methods/standards, delivery of health care, heart arrest/complications/therapy, heart transplantation, heart-assist devices, outcome and process assessment (health care), myocardial infarction/complications/therapy, time factors, treatment outcome

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