Australian Nurse Treats, Survives His Own Heart Attack

From - March 7, 2018

Australian Nurse Treats, Survives His Own Heart Attack

WEDNESDAY, March 7, 2018 -- A nurse stationed on Australia's isolated far west coast experienced chest pain and dizziness -- signs of heart attack -- but he was almost a hundred miles from the next nearest medical facility.

So he pushed past the pain to diagnose and treat himself, according to a report of the case published March 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The 44-year-old worked at a nursing post in remote Coral Bay, more than 600 miles from the nearest major city, Perth.

When his heart attack symptoms began, the unnamed nurse gave himself an electrocardiogram (ECG). He quickly emailed the results to an ER physician, using Australia's Emergency Telehealth Service.

"The electrocardiogram showed complete heart block," wrote medical staffer Felicity Lee and her colleagues at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia.

Numerous other signs of serious heart attack were found on a second ECG the nurse emailed off to the doctors.

He quickly went to work to save himself, setting up his own intravenous line for the various drugs -- including clot-busters and painkillers -- needed to survive the attack.

He also "attached his own defibrillator pads and prepared adrenaline" plus two drugs needed to correct irregular heart rhythms, the report said.

Finally, the vessel blockage that was driving the heart attack cleared, and there was a "resolution" of the aberrations seen on the ECG -- and the nurse's symptoms, according to the report.

All of these steps bought him time until emergency help could arrive, the report said. The nurse was airlifted to a cardiology center in Perth, where he went on to receive a stent and drugs to help manage his heart condition.

"He was discharged home 48 hours later" with appropriate heart medications, Lee and her colleagues wrote.

Continue reading at »