British woman survives 6-hour cardiac arrest after hiking in Spain

A British woman was revived after suffering a six-hour cardiac arrest while hiking in Spain, doctors said Thursday.

Doctors at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona said 34-year-old Audrey Mash was hiking in the Catalan Pyrenees on Nov. 3 when she and her husband got caught in a snowstorm, according to Reuters. 

Then Mash stopped moving and fell unconscious, The Guardian reported. Her husband called friends who helped a rescue team locate them, but the operation was delayed because of the bad weather.

Mash had severe hypothermia and her body temperature had fallen to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Reuters. When she finally reached the hospital, she had no vital signs.

But doctors had hope that they could still save her.

“Although hypothermia was about to kill Audrey, it also saved her because her body – and above all her brain – didn’t get any worse,” Dr. Eduardo Argudo told The Guardian. “If she’d been in cardiac arrest for that long with a normal body temperature, we’d have been certifying her death.”

The media outlet said doctors were able to revive Mash with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (Ecmo), which took over the functions of her heart and lungs. While connected to the machine, Mash was able to receive oxygen to her brain while doctors treated her.

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