Tuesday, January 03, 2006

MN Hospitals Chill Heart Attack Victims

From Yahoo News:

A handful of Minnesota hospitals are now chilling some heart attack patients in an effort partly to protect their brains, a therapy that has produced results one doctor called "breathtaking."

Take the case of Robert Kempenich, 52, of Little Falls. On Dec. 5, he collapsed at a SuperAmerica store and was rushed to a St. Cloud hospital where he was hooked up to a machine that lowered his body temperature to 92 degrees.

Under normal circumstances, only about 5 percent of patients who collapse after a sudden heart attack survive. Even if emergency workers get the heart started again, the brain damage is often permanent.

Yet two days after Kempenich collapsed he awoke from a coma and gave the "thumbs up" sign. His wife, Mary, was there. The sign meant, "He knows," she said. "He knows what he's doing."

Less than a week later, Kempenich went home from the hospital. He was back at work at the SuperAmerica last week. His doctors say there are no signs of lasting brain damage.

Dr. Scott Davis, head of the critical care unit, called the results "breathtaking."


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