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Healing Hearts During Heart Month

Thanks to humble prayers and a “cool” clinical trial underway at Norman Regional Hospital, a Norman resident is alive. The man was putting a turkey in the oven for his family’s Thanksgiving feast when he went into cardiac arrest. His family immediately called 911. When EMSStat paramedics did their initial testing, they realized the man would be a perfect fit for the therapeutic hypothermia program underway at Norman Regional Hospital.

The clinical trial uses a machine called the Arctic Sun to induce patients into a mild hypothermic stage. A cooling blanket is wrapped over the patient’s entire body. Gel like pads are then filled with cool water and circulated through the blanket to slowly lower a patient’s body temperature to 33 degrees Celsius. Studies have shown that if a patient’s pulse can be restarted and the body temperature cooled within six to eight hours after the attack, permanent brain damage can be reduced or minimized.

“While at this lower temperature the patient’s body is allowed to heal and rest,” said Gayle Sturgis, director of Cardio Pulmonary Services. “Damage from cardiac arrest is felt to be related to free radicals that induce damage in the immediate post arrest time period. These radicals that cause havoc a cardiac arrest event are floated out of the body during this time and are not allowed to cause disruption in the cellular makeup. This allows the patient, when they wake up or go back to normal temperature, to have slept past all the negative effects of a code, heart attack or neurological event.”

The American Heart Association has endorsed the cooling method and now New York City ambulances along with their counterparts in Seattle, Boston and Miami will bypass hospitals that do not offer the therapy for cardiac patients. Norman Regional has been offering the therapeutic cooling for six months now.

Critical Care specialist Dr. Mark Camp, MD helped bring the program to Norman Regional. “This new therapy will enable us to continue to provide state of the art care in our ongoing quest to provide optimal patient outcomes.”

Optimal outcomes are happening. After being “chilled” for 24 hours the Norman Regional patient was slowly warmed back to a natural body temperature. He survived and even returned to hospital a month later to thank the nurses and doctors.

Cardiovascular disease is our nation's number one killer. According to the American Heart Association, someone dies every 37 seconds in our country from heart disease. The A.H.A. ranks our state second worst in the nation when it comes to cardiovascular disease deaths. Statistics show last year alone 367 Oklahomans died as a result of cardiovascular disease.

Norman Regional Health System has been meeting the needs of our regional community for the past six decades. That is why this February the Health System is proud to be taking part in American Heart Month. Our Healthy Community Booth will be set up at the Norman Public Library Wednesday, February 25th from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Anyone 18 years old or older can get a blood pressure screening, tobacco cessation kits and one-on-one information from a nutritionist. The best part of the event, it’s all free.

Cardiovascular disease is our nation's number one killer. According to the American Heart Association, someone dies every 37 seconds in our country from heart disease. The A.H.A. ranks our state second worst in the nation when it comes to cardiovascular disease deaths. Statistics show last year alone 367 Oklahomans died as a result of cardiovascular disease.

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Contact Kelly Wells
Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144
Email NRHS_Corporate_Communications@nrh-ok.com