A young woman has been a miraculous recovery in hospital despite doctors failing to detect a heartbeat for 72 hours.
The unnamed patient was taken to the First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University in China’s eastern Fujian Province.
Her husband carried the 26-year-old over his back for emergency treatment at 7.58pm on New Year’s Day as she had no heartbeat and was unconscious.
Medics said she suffered from ventricular fibrillation, which is when the heart quivers instead of pumping blood around the body.
She was eventually diagnosed with acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
The team of doctors performed chest compressions for 20 minutes before switching the young woman to life-support system ECMO – extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation – replacing her heart and lung functions with the device.
Doctor Yang Chengbin said: “ECMO is a substitute for the patient’s cardiopulmonary functions, allowing us to maintain her blood supply following cardiac arrest.”
Two hours later, however, she remained unconscious, her pupils dilated, and her vital signs failed to return.
By clinical standards, the woman was dead, but the doctors refused to give up.
Doctor Zhang Minwei explained: “I felt that her illness happened too suddenly. At 26 she was still in her prime, and she had no history of diseases.
“It was my opinion that we needed to create the conditions for even the slimmest chance of survival.”
The patient was kept in hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and various other instruments were used to regulate her bodily functions, including respiratory devices and renal replacement therapy.
The ‘miracle’, as it has been described, happened after 72 hours, when her heart restored partial function.
By January 7, it was beating on its own.
She is now in stable condition and is able to eat by herself. She remains in intensive care as medics continue renal therapy and help her restore full function of her limbs.