A British woman was revived after spending 6 hours in a state of complete cardio-vascular arrest. Thirty-four year old Audrey Mash got lost in a snowstorm in the Vall de Núria, in the Catalan Pyrenees early in November. Suffering from hypothermia she entered a state cardio-respiratory arrest. The fire services managed to reach the area where Mash and her husband were lost in the afternoon thanks to photos they sent to friends. Mash had a body temperature of just 18ºC when she was found. She was heliported to Vall d’Hebron hospital and arrived at 5.44pm.
When Mash arrived at the hospital, she had no vital signs, her heart was showing no electrical activity and her kidneys and lungs were not functioning. She was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. This basically oxygenates and warms blood before returning it to the body. When her body temperature reached 30ºC, the medical team tried to defibrillate, her heart began to beat autonomously at 9.46pm. Mash was discharged from hospital 11 days later showing no neurological damage apart from complete memory loss about the day She has been able to return to her teaching job in Barcelona.
Doctor Eduard Argudo from the Vall d’Hebron hospital said it was the longest cardiac arrest recorded in scale and has global implications on how to treat such cases setting a pathway for future coordination between teams. It is believed that the cold prevented brain damage. The treatment may have implications for avalanche victims who quickly become hypothermic. Her husband said . "On Sunday we decided to leave the mountain hut early, at 7.15am." The couple reached the summit of the 2,563-metre Torreneules mountain when "the snowfall became very heavy. We tried to use a rock for shelter to avoid the bad weather. Once the weather visibility improved I sent some photos to our friends of where we were." By this stage Audrey was incoherent and finally stopped breathing around 3pm. "I took her pulse and tried to see if she was breathing but there were no signs of life". Audrey Mash concluded "I didn't realize we were in danger, perhaps we were not as prepared as we should have been, we were careless".