39-year old Colin Fielder from Victoria, Australia was clinically dead for 40 minutes—that is until a new resuscitation technique from The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne brought him back to life.
The new technique is one of two being performed by the hospital. They have already resuscitated three patients who were clinically dead—including Melbourne—with deaths spanning from 40 minutes to an hour.
The hospital is experimenting with a mechanical CPR machine which executes continual chest compressions.
They are also experimenting with a portable heart-lung machine, most commonly used in theater, which maintains blood and oxygen flow to the brain and vital organs.
Fielder suffered a heart attack in June 2012 and was clinically dead for 40 minutes. "I'm so grateful, more than I could ever say," he said.
The Auto Pulse Machine and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation have been used to treat seven patients so far.
The treatments allow doctors to figure out the cause of the heart attack, treat it, and maintain blood and oxygen flow. This decreases the risk for permanent disability. All three patients that were revived returned home without disability.
While in the ambulance, Fielder was offered a choice between two hospitals.
"For some reason, I said The Alfred, which is pretty lucky because they are the only one that has it," he said.
Currently the techniques are only available at The Alfred but according to senior intensive care physician Professor Stephen Bernard, there are high hopes for its expansion across all of Melbourne.
The treatment calls for three doctors trained in intensive-care and all the machinery being ready to go on site, said Bernard, which is not available at any other hospital in Victoria.