Miracle! British Hiker Survives Longest Documented Cardiac Arrest

UK News

Audrey Schoeman was revived after developing severe 6-hour hypothermia when she got stuck in a snowstorm while hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees with husband.

Written By Aanchal Nigam | Mumbai | Updated On:

A British hiker survived a longest documented cardiac arrest in Spain and Spanish doctors call it an 'exceptional case'. Audrey Schoeman was revived after developing severe hypothermia for six hours when she got stuck in a snowstorm while hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees with her husband in November. Schoeman reportedly said that she hopes to be hiking again in a local press conference after making a near-full recovery. 

On facing severe weather in the Pyrenees, the 34-year-old began having trouble in speaking and moving and later fell unconscious. Furthermore, her condition worsened while waiting for emergency services and her husband believed that Schoeman was dead. On December 5, the woman admitted that was unable to feel her pulse, she could not breathe and failed to feel her heartbeat. The rescue team arrived at the location after two hours only to check that Schoeman's body temperature had fallen down to 18 degrees Celcius without any other vital signs. 

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'She looked dead'

The Barcelona resident was brought to Vall d'Hebron Hospital where her doctor, Eduard Arguodo said in a statement that Schoeman looked as she was 'dead'. However, it was later found that the 34-year-old was able to stay alive only because of her low temperatures which were also responsible for making her ill. Arguodo said that in the context of hypothermia, he believes that there was a 'chance of surviving'. While she was unconscious and was under cardiac arrest, it was hypothermia that protected her body and brain from deteriorating. The doctor also acknowledged that had her heart stopped working under normal body temperature, she would have died. 

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In order to revive Schoeman quickly, doctors reportedly took help of a specialised machine which is capable to remove blood from the body while infusing it with oxygen and reintroducing it to the patient. Once the health officials were able to make the hiker's body temperature reach nearly 3 degrees Celcius, a defibrillator was used to jump-start her heart after nearly six-hours of contacting the emergency services. The patient, Schoeman was released from the hospital 12 days later while having only some of the lingering symptoms of hypothermia like facing issues with movement and sensitivity of her hands. Schoeman believes it was all a 'miracle' and crediting her survival to the doctors who later confessed that they were 'worried' about any damage to the brain. 

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(With inputs from agency)

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