Health Team

Quick and correct actions saved Chapel Hill man

Posted September 2, 2010 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2010 6:23 p.m. EDT

— In February, Mike Patil, 60, suffered sudden cardiac arrest while riding in a car with a friend in Chapel Hill.

“I remember talking with him, and then I don't remember anything,” Patil said.

Fortunately, they were next to a fire station where firefighters used an Automatic External Defibrillator combined with CPR to revive his heart and keep oxygen flowing to the brain.

“He was resuscitated and defibrillated multiple times at the fire station, multiple times in the emergency department, multiple times in the cardiac cath lab,” UNC cardiologist Dr. Jason Katz said.

The key to Patil's survival and recovery was therapeutic hypothermia, Katz said. Using special cooling wraps and a control unit, they brought his body temperature down about 10 degrees.

“You want to cool the patients down therapeutically as soon as you can, in order to allow the brain to hibernate while the rest of the body recovers,” Katz said.

“I think they saved my brain by doing that and my kidneys as well,” Patil said.

Most cardiac arrest patients die before they ever make to a hospital, and many more die in the hospital, but all the right things happened for Patil starting with an available Automatic External Defibrillator and people trained to use it.

“Everybody needs to know how to do CPR,” UNC Chief of Cardiology Cam Patterson said. “Defibrillators should be like fire hydrants. They should be on every corner and every building.”