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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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My husband was dead for 20 minutes after a heart attack.

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My husband was 'dead' for 20 minutes after a heart attack. Is this a record?



I am sorry to hear that your husband had a cardiac arrest. According to my knowledge, patients can only arrest for a few minutes and survive if they are brought back without having any interventions. I believe that 3-4 mins is the maximum that the brain can survive without any oxygen. If he was arrested for 20 mins and survived this most likely means that medical staff were trying different things throughout this time such as CPR and they were providing him with oxygen through this. This case can be common. However, there are still risks than need to be monitored. Obviously the medical staff will look in to this thoroughly.


I would advise you that when your husband is discharged from hospital he could check whether the hospital offers any cardiac rehabilitation programs that are very beneficial and speed up recovery, physical and emotional. Having a cardiac arrest is usually perceived as a big shock from the patient and family. Having as much input as he can would help him accept the condition and adapt easier to any changes he needs to make in his life style. Some cardiac rehabilitation team also have Psychology service, which he could possible use to process the trauma of his experience.


Hope this helps


All the best



Mina and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

I noticed your post you left for the feedback. It is impossible for your husband to have stayed for 20 mins without oxygen as he would not have survived. However, it is possible that from these 20 min he did stay without oxygen for a some time and this seems to have affected his brain functions as it usually does. The best person to help you would be the cardiologist that he is under, or if he has been discharged you would need to consult your GP in case there is any treatment that he can get. They would need to refer your husband for a neuropsychological testing and possibly for further tests such as brain scans to identify and brain damage.

I am sorry that you have to go through this.

I hope that with some further tests and treatment he could see some improvement.

All the best


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