UAE: Emirati woman, 23, suffers cardiac arrest, passes out in car park

Abu Dhabi: Timely action by security guards at a hospital in Abu Dhabi helped save the life of a young Emirati woman, who fell unconscious at the car park, after suffering, what doctors later diagnosed as a cardiac arrest due to pulmonary embolism or blood clots in her lungs.

Faizal Khan, Security Officer at Burjeel Hospital, told Gulf News that the hospital’s security guards found the woman unconscious and unresponsive.

“Suddenly, I got a message from the walkie-talkie that a patient had collapsed close by. We immediately contacted the control room operator to declare Code Magenta,” he said.

Rapid Response Alert

Moments after Code Magenta –  Rapid Response Alert –  was sounded in the hospital, the ER staff rushed to the scene with essential life-saving equipment.

Mary Joy, Emergency Nurse, said, “We ran outside with triage nurses and took the stretcher with us. We found the patient unresponsive and lying in the car park. We put her on the stretcher and moved her quickly.”

As it turns out, the young patient, F. Al Hosani,  had lost consciousness after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The efforts of Burjeel Hospital’s security guards, emergency room (ER) staff and a team of doctors ended up savingher life.

The woman was wheeled into the resuscitation room where a team of emergency medicine professionals swung into action.

Resusciation for 10 minutes

According to Dr. Wissam Al Sahli, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, advanced cardiac life support measures had to be initiated and after the patient was resuscitated for 10 minutes, she was stabilised. But her condition remained critical.

Dr. Wissam said, “We rushed the patient for an emergency coronary angiogram to check if it was a heart attack because that would need to be fixed as soon as possible. It revealed everything was within normal limits.”

But even after resuscitating her, the medical team was struggling to maintain her blood pressure and her oxygen saturation, both of which were extremely low.

When suspicions arose about a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs, Al Hosani was taken for an emergency CT scan of the lungs.

Dr. Mohamed Almarzooqi, Consultant Interventional Neuroradiology, Interventional Radiology & HOD, said time was a critical factor. “The CT scan of her lungs showed multiple pulmonary emboli (clots) in the lungs, which were affecting the oxygenation of the body, her blood pressure and putting a huge strain on the heart. The team was also on standby to aspirate the blood clot,” he recalled.

Emergency huddle

After a quick emergency huddle, the team decided to administer clot-busting medication to dissolve the embolism. Within a couple of hours, the patient’s vital signs gradually improved. Al Hosani was on artificial ventilation as she was unable to breathe by herself. The following day, once the vitals stabilised, the team was able to wean her off the ventilator and she regained consciousness. She soon recovered and was discharged home five days later.

According to the medical team, which also included Dr. Nehad Nabil Abdelmoneim Halawa, Specialist Intensive Care & HOD, and Dr. Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed Ibrahim, Specialist Emergency Medicine, the patient was resuscitated on time and was lucky to receive timely medical attention. “She will require further follow-up to make sure there is no other clotting disturbance, which is a risk factor after pulmonary embolism,” said Dr. Wissam.

Al Hosani says she only remembers coming to the hospital as she was not feeling too well that morning. After that, everything went blank.

“I am grateful to the Almighty to be alive. I was not feeling well but I did not expect it to lead to such a serious condition. I am thankful to the entire team at Burjeel Hospital,” she said.

What is pulmonary embolism?

Pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in the pulmonary arteries, the blood vessels that send blood to the lungs. It usually happens when a blood clot in the deep veins in the leg breaks off and travels to the lungs. Symptoms include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or fainting due to drop in blood pressure.

According to Dr. Wissam, pulmonary embolism can be caused due to a variety of factors including a recent surgery, reduced mobility related to travel whether by air or car, or consumption of hormonal pills.

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