"I Survived A Heart Attack"

Patient: Reginald Grant

When someone suffers a massive heart attack, the outcome can often be tragic, even if the life is saved. Despite the best medical treatment, patients sometimes wake up with irreversible brain damage. By all accounts, Reginald Grant should not be alive today, much less be able to return to his job. Thanks to a security camera and treatment at St. Dominic’s in the form of a stent and a relatively new treatment called therapeutic hypothermia, Grant is back driving a massive tractor-trailer over the open roads.

How It All Began

While loading his trailer at work in preparation for a trip, Grant suffered a massive heart attack earlier this year that left him lying unconscious on the ground near his rig. After several minutes, an observant security guard viewing footage from mounted cameras noticed Grant had fallen and ran to help. After being taken to a local hospital, Grant was then air-lifted to St. Dominic’s.

The Turning Point

There, Richard Guynes, MD, Cardiologist with St. Dominic’s Mississippi Heart Institute, inserted two stents in Grant’s right coronary. Since video footage showed he had been unconscious for several minutes, Dr. Guynes ordered hypothermia or cardiac cooling, a technique increasingly being used to treat patients who suffer cardiac arrest.

The technique involved cooling Grant’s body to about 91 degrees F — about 7 degrees below normal body temperature. Bringing the body’s temperature down can slow brain-cell death and other organ demise that often leads to permanent neurological damage, Dr. Guynes said. As the process unfolded on St. Dominic’s first patient to undergo the treatment, Dr. Guynes said it was “impossible to know” if any damage had occurred during the time he was comatose.

Recovery and Life After

"Since Mr. Grant was our first patient to undergo hypothermia, there were some unknowns,” said Dr. Guynes. “From the training I received, I learned that if we get them in early enough and everything is set up to begin treatment, there’s a good chance the hypothermia can make a big difference in the patient’s outcome.”

Dr. Guynes said hypothermia can be induced externally or internally and can last 12 to 24 hours. The body is then slowly rewarmed to a normal temperature.  A common method of heart cooling is using cooling blankets and ice packs on a patient. The blankets carry cooled water and are wrapped around the patient. Like a human radiator, a device pumps water and cools the body, effectively reducing the risk of brain damage.

Hypothermia can also be administered intravenously through the use of chilled saline, a method many paramedics are utilizing, Dr. Guynes said.

Two days after entering St. Dominic’s, Grant woke up in his hospital bed, unaware of what had happened, but fully cognizant of his surroundings and loved ones.

“I don’t remember anything about those days, but I do know I was in a good place,” said Grant. “The security guard just happened to see me on the video camera. If he hadn’t, I might not be here. Then, coming to St. Dominic’s and being treated by Dr. Guynes was the second miracle. I’m one of only a few men who can say they were saved twice.”

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      I'm only one of a few men who can say they were saved twice.

More About Reginald:

Where did you come to us from?
Meridian, MS

Who was your physician treatment team at St. Dominic Hospital?
Rick Guynes, MD

What are some of your thoughts regarding St. Dominc's?
"I don’t remember anything about those days, but I do know I was in a good place."