Watch Now: Surviving 'Sudden Cardiac Death'

David Navarro remembers being out with friends for a casual Sunday afternoon dinner in Coral Gables. He has no recollection of what happened next. Mr. Navarro suffered what is known as sudden cardiac death or sudden cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, the condition often occurs without warning or symptoms:

– It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat known as arrhythmia.
– With normal cardiac function disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.
– A person quickly loses consciousness and has no pulse.
– Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.

Luckily for Mr. Navarro, two physicians who happened to be dining in the restaurant jumped into action and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and restarted his heart. Paramedics transported him to South Miami Hospital and that’s where the team of specialists at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute took over.

Even though Mr. Navarro was clinically dead on arrival, within 19 minutes doctors were able to open his arteries, re-establish a pulse and initiate a neuro-protection protocol to prevent any brain damage due to the lack of blood getting to his brain. He was then sedated for 72 hours.

Romeo Majano, M.D., medical director of interventional cardiology at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute at South Miami Hospital, says this is the type of health emergency that has a zero chance of survival if it happens while someone is home alone.

“When someone arrives dead in the hospital and walks out — I don’t think there are words to describe the satisfaction of all the staff involved, including paramedics, the people that helped him in the restaurant, our nurses, our doctors, our intensivists, our neurologists. Since we all worked as a team, it’s amazingly rewarding,” Dr. Majano said.

The Baptist Health South Florida News Team chronicles Mr. Navarro’s story. Watch it now.

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