Sudden Cardiac Arrest claims one life in this country two minutes. There is a critical difference between a heart attack and SCA. Heart attack blocks blood to the heart. Cardiac Arrest stops the heart. We sat down again with a well known nurse anesthetist at Avera McKennan who is part of a small percentage of people who survive after his heart suddenly stopped beating a year ago.
Rod chokes up and says, "I couldn't have done it without my kids and Julie. They were awesome." (They have 4 adult children and 7 grandkids)
55 year old Rod Fieldsend tries to live his life like everyday is his last. On September 23rd of last year (2008) it almost was.
After a rigorous game of basketball with his son J.R. at the Avera Mckennan Fitness Center Rod collapsed on the court. Unconscious and unresponsive he was in cardiac arrest. He had no heart beat. A nurse working out ran to his rescue. They grabbed the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and brought him back to life. Rod has said had the stars not all been aligned that night he would not be here today."
Dr. Riyad Mohama from North Central Heart says, "95% of those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest don't survive. The heart needs to be resuscitated with an AED usually within the first 5 minutes of the event."
Rod ended up having open heart surgery and coronary bypass in 6 of his arteries at the Avera Heart Hospital two days after the event. Three months later he says he needed a little "tweaking". He had 4 stents put in and got an implantable cardiac defibrillator. Rod was born with bad genetics. Heart disease runs deep in the veins of his family. His father had his first heart attack at 39. He died 15 years ago.
Rod says, "One thing when I go back and look at it I know now I can only do one thing at a time. I think for the kids and our family the biggest lesson to take away from this is that everyday we enjoy each other as much as we can. We don't waste anytime. When we are together we play as hard as we can for as long as we can. We are very blessed, we are very fortunate. I can't believe a year has gone by already."
Rod's mantra is now: Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Wise words from a man who knows first hand.
Rod says he and his wife Julie and their 4 kids do everything they can to modify heart disease risk factors by eating healthy and exercising regularly. He also take fish oil supplements.