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On March 25, when the Rev. Mike Klamecki settled in his theater seat to watch the action movie “Logan,” he didn’t know he was about to star in his own story of suspense.
About midway through the film, Klamecki’s wife Carol noticed her husband was unresponsive. She called 911 and Elmhurst Fire Department paramedics arrived at the theater in less than five minutes.
Promptly noting that Klamecki wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, they started resuscitation. But their patient coded again, twice in the ambulance and again in the Elmhurst Hospital ER.
Klamecki, the pastor of New Hope Community Church in Villa Park and father of three, says, “The incident itself had more impact on my wife and daughters than it did on me. I was unaware of what was going on for the next two or three days.”
Samuel Hayward, MD, an Elmhurst Hospital emergency physician, cared for Klamecki in the ER.
“The initial tests showed that Mr. Klamecki had arrhythmia and may be having a heart attack,” says Dr. Hayward. “It appears he had gone into spontaneous ventricular fibrillation (SVF).”
SVF is the most serious heart rhythm disturbance. In SVF, an electrical malfunction causes the pumping chambers of the heart to just quiver, rather than fully beat. The result is little or no blood being pumped, causing the patient to go into cardiac arrest.
After Klamecki was treated in the ER, he was brought to the cardiac catheterization lab for an angiogram. The test showed that the trim and active 47-year-old had no blockage in his arteries, so bypass surgery to create a new pathway for blood flow wouldn’t be necessary, but he did have a weak heart that was causing his arrhythmia.
What was needed was a cooling procedure to lower his body temperature to prevent brain damage, which can occur during cardiac arrest because the brain may not get enough blood.
“Cooling is often done in cardiac arrest cases to preserve brain function by reducing brain activity,” says Dr. Hayward.
The doctors treating Klamecki agreed he was a good candidate for use of the hospital’s state-of-the-art cooling technology – the ZOLL Intravascular Temperature Management (IVTM) System.
The IVTM is more efficient than the routine application of multiple cooling pads. It allows patients to reach a target body temperature quickly and accurately. Cooling is done using a balloon-filled catheter inserted into a patient’s vein. The system’s console sends ice-cold saline solution into these balloons where it gradually cools the blood that’s flowing past the catheter and through the body. Since the saline flows only within the catheter, no fluid is infused directly into the patient.
After the IVTM therapy, which typically lasts 24 hours, the system re-warms the patient back to a normal body temperature at a controlled, safe pace.
Klamecki’s care team in the Elmhurst Hospital Intensive Care Unit included critical care specialist Ahmad Raslan, MD, of Elmhurst Clinic, and nurses Ruth Mack, RN; Jeanie Brown, RN and Renato Bautista, RN.
He was given three types of medication and Apoor Gami, MD, who specializes in cardiac electrophysiology with Advocate Medical Group, inserted a defibrillator to treat a lethal arrhythmia.
”I feel pretty good now,” says Klamecki. “My cardiologist, Dr. Michael Brottman (of Advocate Medical Group), said he considers me to be among the 5 percent of people who have this happen and don’t either die or have their brains impacted. I always knew that life is fragile, but having something happen so suddenly makes it real and apparent.”
Klamecki may have missed seeing the whole “Logan” action flick, but his brother tried to make up for it. He sent a souvenir to remind Klamecki of his experience – a Mr. Freeze action figure from the Batman comic book series.
Learn more about Elmhurst Hospital’s emergency care and cardiac services.
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