I-Team: Cardiac alert - WNEM TV 5

I-Team: Cardiac alert

Posted: Updated:
Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

May 8, 2013 started out like any other day. Shelley Wyant went to work at HealthPlus of Michigan and had a lunch date with a friend, but that’s when her memory fades.

“I don’t even remember driving back from lunch,” Wyant said.

Wyant was in the middle of a meeting with a colleague when things suddenly went wrong. First, she grabbed her head.

“And I collapsed,” Wyant recalled.

She collapsed and went into cardiac arrest, not to be mistaken with a heart attack. As the I-Team discovered, it’s an important distinction.

“If we think of our heart like a house, we have plumbing and we have electricity in our house. When we have a backup in our plumbing, we are having a heart attack. So, we have arteries, we have some type of blockage that is causing some heart muscle to go into trauma and be damaged. When we go into cardiac arrest it's when the electrical system in your heart goes bad. So, if we were to lose power in this room, it's not going to happen gradually. It's going to happen very suddenly,” said Diane Fong, CEO of the Pulse3 Foundation.

Wyant was in a conference room when her heart's electrical system shut down.

She was 52-years-old, into fitness, wasn't a smoker, and didn't seem to fit the "stereotype" for heart troubles, but she was fortunate in a way many aren't.

Her colleagues sprang into action. One performed CPR while another grabbed an AED.

“So they had to actually shock me twice before my heart started again,” Wyant said.

Wyant’s company had an automated external defibrillator, or AED, on site and ensured someone was trained to use it.

It’s not always the case in all work places and schools. Overall, cardiac arrest survival rates tend to be low.

In Michigan and nationally, CPR is performed on just over 40 percent of cardiac arrest patients. The rates have improved in Saginaw where more than half of patients receive CPR.

Fong's foundation has been working to change survival rates in Mid-Michigan.

“We train folks for free in CPR. We've trained over 2,000 people with our partners last year alone. We placed external defibrillators into public locations. We've placed more than 170 to date. We're aware of 20 instances where they were actually used and of 10 lives saved,” she said.

As for Wyant, being a survivor has changed her life.

“A lot of these people already are eating right, they're already healthy, they're already exercising and they think, ‘Well that doesn't apply to me, I'm already doing everything right.’ Well so was I. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, so what you need to be prepared to do is CPR. What your employer needs to be prepared is to have AEDs on site and people trained to use them,” Wyant said.

Fong said learning how to save a life is actually quite simple.

“Someone is on the phone with 911, someone is hopefully running to get an AED that's available and we'll begin compressions,” Fong said.

Once a AED is opened, it pretty much explains to the user what to do.

“Unit Ok...stay calm...keep compressions...call for help...open airway. It's going to start talking to us, go ahead and rip the pads right out of that bag,” Fong explained.

Once the pads are placed on the patient's chest, the device will make a determination.

“Shock advised. Don't touch patient, touch flashing shock button. Shock delivered. Then we get right back on the chest,” Fong said.

Wyant has since become and advocate for CPR and the use of AEDs.

She's proud of Michigan for recently passing a law that requires high school students to be trained in CPR.

As for Fong, she just hopes it becomes a priority for others before it's too late.

“My life could have ended when I had sudden cardiac arrest and thank goodness that it didn't because since then I now have a 1-year-old granddaughter,” Wyant said. “There's a reason I'm here today and she just might be it.”

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.