Australian doctors have managed to revive three patients who were clinically dead for 40 to 60 minutes thanks to a new machine called the AutoPulse. The machine is being tested out for everyday use but is currently limited to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.
AutoPulse performs constant mechanical chest compressions and features a portable heart-lung machine to keep blood and oxygen flowing to the patient's brain and other vital organs. It has been used on seven cardiac arrest patients; three were brought back to life after a substantial amount of time.
Colin Fiedler, 39, suffered a heart attack and was clinically dead between 40 to 60 minutes. Doctors used the new machine to try and save his life, and the gamble paid off.
"I'm so grateful, more than I could ever say," Fiedler told The Herald Sun. Before going unconscious, Fiedler was given the option of which hospital he wanted to go to.
"For some reason, I said The Alfred, which is pretty lucky, because they are the only one that has it," Fiedler explained. He has since stopped smoking and tries to reduce his stress as much as possible, both things to help keep him heart-healthy.
Doctors say that the machine keeps critical blood and oxygen flowing while giving them time to treat the cardiac arrest. AutoPulse prevents patients from suffering permanent disability from a lack of blood or oxygen.
Professor Stephen Bernard told the press that the machine is currently only available at The Alfred, but given the success of the clinical run and trials, he is hopeful that it will soon be sent to other locations across Melbourne.
"We are looking to where to best implement these machines around Melbourne," Bernard explained.
It's possible that with the expansion of The AutoPulse, more lives like Fiedler's can be saved after a substantial time of unconsciousness and cardiac arrest. Physicians are hopeful that the machine will provide new opportunities to learn about the causes of cardiac arrest and be able to treat them more efficiently.