Cardiac Care - Chain of Survival

Chuck Buda was looking forward to dinner with his wife, Sandra, to celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary and leaving for a vacation in Aruba a few days later.

But as he was walking in his Middlesex home on the afternoon of May 27, the 69-year-old suddenly collapsed and fell to the floor.

Middlesex Patrolmen James Dolinski and Sean Flanagan were the first to respond to his wife's emergency call, finding Mr. Buda in cardiac arrest. They began CPR and shocked Mr. Buda's heart with a defibrillator to revive him. The Middlesex Rescue Squad and Somerset Medical Center Emergency Medical Services also responded. He was transported to Somerset Medical Center, now known as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.

In the Emergency Department, he was put on a ventilator and assessed to determine if he suffered a stroke or heart attack. Cardiologist Rachana Kulkarni, MD, ordered a CT scan of his lungs and head to check for any signs of bleeding from a stroke. Blood tests showed that he had a heart attack. Dr. Kulkarni, who is chairperson of Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset (RWJ Somerset), started the process of therapeutic hypothermia, a technique that reduces body temperature to approximately 92° F to decrease the basic needs of the major organs.

"In cases of cardiac arrest, our biggest concern is to ensure that the appropriate blood flow is getting to the vital organs and in particular, that blood is carrying oxygen to the brain," said Dr. Kulkarni. "Therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to improve patients' chances of meaningful survival from cardiac arrest, helping to keep their brain functions intact."

Read Mr. Buda's full story from RWJ Somerset here.