Man in Cardiac Arrest at Heart Walk Saved by Cardiologists

PHOTO: An ambulance speeds down the road in this undated file photo.
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Two very qualified bystanders saved a man who went into cardiac arrest while taking part in a charity walk for heart health in Oregon.

The man was given CPR by two cardiologists as he took part in the Portland Heart and Stroke Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association on Saturday.

In the middle of the walk, the man apparently collapsed from cardiac arrest and, immediately, bystanders sprung into action to perform CPR.

Dr. Brad Evans, a cardiologist at Adventist Heart Northwest Regional Health, was on the walk with his wife when he saw a man on the ground getting CPR from bystanders.

"At first, I thought this is interesting they're teaching CPR on the heart walk," Evans said.

Then, he realized the man was in distress and offered to help lead the CPR.

"I assumed the position as director of chaos and made sure someone had called for help and did CPR on the gentleman," said Evans.

Because the man collapsed on the waterfront in an area where rescue workers could not easily go, Evans said he estimated it took paramedics nearly 20 minutes to arrive.

During that time, Evans and other bystanders, including another cardiologist, took turns performing CPR. Although Evans said he didn't initially feel a pulse, the man periodically was able to breathe on his own during CPR.

While Evans did not know the other people helping, he said they were all able to work together to save the man's life.

"The more people learning basic life support, [the more people there are who] can respond to something like this," said Evans. "I didn't know any of these people [performing CPR], and they were kind and polite and calm."

When the paramedics arrived, they were able to shock the man's heart back into a survivable rhythm, according to Evans.

A spokesman for Portland Fire and Rescue said the man was taken to a local hospital, where he was reported to be alert.

"That blows me away," Evans said, after being told of the man's condition. "If he survived after 20 minutes in cardiac arrest, I am a true believer in the new CPR," which focuses on chest compressions.

The doctor said performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest greatly increases their chance for survival.

"I've never had the opportunity to participate so early" in a cardiac case, Evans said. "I encourage everybody to take a [CPR] class. You never know when it's [going to be] your loved one."

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