They have no pulse, no blood pressure, and no heart rhythm. But cardiac arrest patients now have an experimental treatment to help bring them back to life before they ever reach the hospital.
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Jim Arrowsmith: I've got amnesia for the actual day of the event. Jennifer Matthews: November 22, 2004. Jim Arrowsmith doesn't remember a thing, but he's told he left work early that day. Jim Arrowsmith: Either at the beginning of my jog or at the end of my jog when I was doing stretches, I collapsed. Jennifer Matthews: Jim went into cardiac arrest -- and stopped breathing. When paramedics arrived, they injected him with a quart and a half of cold saline to drop his body temperature. It's the first study in the country to do this before cardiac arrest patients get to a hospital. So far, the results look encouraging. Dr. Francis Kim: Mild hypothermia may be the first therapy in a long time that may actually improve survival in a lot of these cardiac arrest patients. Jennifer Matthews: When the heart stops beating, blood and oxygen stop flowing to the brain, and brain cells die. Cold saline drops the body temperature to about 90 degrees. This stops inflammation in the brain and keeps cells alive. Dr. David Coatsworth: Our success in resuscitating these people will be the patient's ultimate success because they'll be able to leave the hospital without being neurologically impaired. Jennifer Matthews: Researchers know cooling the body after patients get to the hospital improves survival rates by more than 10 percent. They want to see if cooling within minutes can help even more. Jim thinks it can. Jim Arrowsmith: I have complete recovery. I didn't lose any bodily functions or brain functions. Jennifer Matthews: 90 percent of cardiac arrest patients die, but Jim is one of the lucky ones. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.
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