Posted on 05/17/2011

ROCHESTER, Minn.--A 54-year-old man is the first known person to survive sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) neurologically intact after spending 96 minutes without a heartbeat, according to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. Howard Snitzer, a chef from Goodhue, Minnesota, collapsed in January outside a grocery store, when bystanders rushed to his aid and took turns administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Medical teams, led by Roger White, MD, of the Mayo Medical Center, continued resuscitation efforts longer than usual because of the use of capnography, which indicated the victim was still viable. According to Dr. White and colleagues, Mr. Snitzer experienced "complete neurologic recovery." They described the episode as "the longest duration of pulselessness in an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with a good outcome.

"This was a remarkable outcome," according to Dr. White in an interview with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. "This case shows the efficacy of well-performed CPR. It also points to the importance of capnography, which I believe, should be standard equipment for EMS." Dr. White serves on the Foundation's Advisory Council.