Lack of oxygen when still breathing
February 26, 2011 5:57 PM Subscribe
Can a heart arrhythmia cause brain damage even if you're still breathing?
posted by hwyengr to health & fitness (10 answers total)
A friend of mine is in very dire straits. The official story goes that when he was found on the ground, he was still breathing so nobody performed CPR. He stopped breathing, however, just as the paramedics arrived. It took about 5 minutes of CPR to resuscitate him. He's alive, but the damage to his brain is so severe that he'll never recover. Now they're just waiting for the brain to die enough that his organs will still be viable for transplants after pulling the plug.
None of the doctors can figure out what triggered the event. It wasn't a heart attack and they can't find anything in his brain or lungs that would have caused it, he apparently just dropped. The current best guess is that it was triggered by an arrhythmia.
I'm having trouble dealing with the grief, and I wasn't there when it happened, so maybe that's why I'm questioning the story. But how can a person who's still breathing (supposedly it was strained) sustain so much damage?
Obviously I have zero medical knowledge, so I'm hoping someone here can shed some light on this for me.