Man Shows Signs of Consciousness during a 90-Minute CPR

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. paramedic / ˌpær·əˈmed·ɪk / (n) – a trained professional who provides medical support during emergencies

    Trained paramedics can perform first aid during emergencies.

  2. vegetative / ˈvedʒ.ə.teɪ.t̬ɪv / (adj) – describing a state of inactivity

    The man was in a vegetative state after the accident.

  3. administer / æd-mɪn·ə·stər / (v) – to give out or facilitate something

    The medical staff administered the treatment.

  4. inadequate / ɪnˈæd·ɪ·kwət / (adj) – not enough

    The patients complained about the inadequate medical supply.

  5. sedate / sɪˈdeɪt / (v) – to calm a person or animal through medication

    The patient was sedated during the procedure.


Read the text below.

A study recently reported a rare medical case involving a man who was conscious while undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Presented at a medical conference in Copenhagen [koh-puh n-HEY-guh n, –HAH-, KOH-puh n-hey-, –hah-], Denmark, the study discussed the case of a 69-year-old man who experienced a cardiac arrest. To revive the man, a team of paramedics and physicians performed CPR, a lifesaving procedure done through chest compressions to provide blood to the brain and other body organs.

Usually, CPR is done for only 20 minutes because the procedure can disrupt blood flow to the brain. Such disruption can result in death or vegetative brain damage. But for the man’s extremely rare case, CPR was done for 90 minutes.

Dr. Rune Sarauw Lundsgaard [luh-ndz-guh rd], the assigned physician on the case, said that the medical team continued to administer CPR because the patient showed signs of responsiveness. These signs included moving his eyes, lifting his limbs, and nodding his head. Dr. Lundsgaard added that the man would lose consciousness when CPR was stopped.

According to Dr. Sam Parnia, lead author of a similar study, exhibiting such extent of consciousness when receiving CPR is uncommon. He explained that the amount of blood flowing to the brain during the procedure is still inadequate for a person to show consciousness with indications of being awake

There is another case that illustrated the possibility of being conscious while receiving CPR.

In 2015, a 55-year-old man from Nebraska, United States, was still able to speak and move while undergoing mechanical CPR. The medical team was communicating with him during the procedure, but he was eventually sedated to counter his prolonged consciousness.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with the medical team’s decision to continue administering CPR for 90 minutes after seeing signs of responsiveness from the patient? Explain.
• What do you think are the risks associated with being conscious during a medical procedure?

Discussion B

• In your opinion, should patients always be informed of the risks that come with a medical procedure? Explain.
• Would you be willing to undergo a medical procedure despite its risks? Why or why not?