Marathon runner recovering after cardiac arrest

Marathon runner recovering after cardiac arrest

Medical staff on course used defibrillator to restart man’s heart

A runner who suffered sudden cardiac arrest during Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon collapsed within a block of a medical tent, marathon organizers said.

The 47-year-old man was approaching the 21st mile on the Near South Side when a medical school student and a doctor saw him collapse, Dr. George Chiampas, the marathon’s medical director, said Monday.

The two marathon volunteers rushed to his side and saw that he was unresponsive, Chiampas said. One of them began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man, while the other went back to the tent for a defibrillator.

The volunteers shocked the man once to restart his heart. When he still wasn’t breathing on his own, they shocked him a second time, Chiampas said. He became responsive after the second shock.

“They saw that he started breathing on his own. He opened his eyes and became more responsive,” Chiampas said. “He probably didn’t realize that he actually passed away.”

A marathon ambulance arrived within about three minutes. The man was taken to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Chiampas said.

On Monday, the man was still in the hospital being evaluated by doctors about what might have caused the attack, Chiampas said.

Chiampas on Monday visited the man, who said he was grateful for the help of the marathon’s medical volunteers.

“I can’t speculate to how he’s feeling,” he said. But “I think he’s extremely appreciative. I could tell you that.”

The marathon had 21 medical tents stationed along the course, all of which were equipped with a defibrillator, Chiampas said.