At the end of March, a sexagenarian was declared dead by the Samu after suffering from a heart attack. But a few minutes later, the patient’s heart started beating again. This rare medical phenomenon is called the “Lazarus phenomenon”.
- The first cases of the Lazarus phenomenon were described in January and May 1982 by a team from Helsinki in Finland and internists from the Dreux hospital center.
- The term “Lazarus phenomenon” was first used in 1993 by an American anesthesiologist and emergency physician, Jack G. Bray, in a study published in the journal Anesthesiology.
Incredible but true. A 66-year-old garbage collector, thought to be dead, has been resuscitated. On March 29, the Francilien started his service very early in Neuilly-sur-Marne, in Seine-Saint-Denis. He “didn’t have time to start that he felt unwell”said, at theAFP, a spokeswoman for the Sepur company for which the man works, on April 7. His heart stopped beating. “Our authorized colleagues provided cardiac massage and then the Samu intervened”, entrusted to Parisian a company representative.
The rescuers carried out “a prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation of more than 50 minutes, taking into account the age and the presence of good prognostic factors”, told the press agency, Professor Frédéric Adnet, head of emergencies at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny. Despite the intervention of the Samu, the sexagenarian is declared dead in the process and is placed in a body bag.
A few minutes later, his heart started beating again. Rescuers noticed that the patient had started to move in the body bag. They transported the municipal employee to Montfermeil hospital. Since his resurrection, the garbage collector has been plunged into a deep coma. This surprising return to life is known to doctors. This is the Lazarus phenomenon.
“We think it’s a problem with chest relaxation”
This extremely rare phenomenon is named after Lazarus, in reference to the biblical character Lazarus of Bethany who emerged alive from his tomb four days after his death. It occurs after a declaration of death. This phenomenon is characterized by a restarting of the patient’s heart, after all of his vital constants had stopped.
“The explanatory hypotheses are not yet convincing but, nevertheless, we think that when we do intensive resuscitation and the heart does not restart and we disconnect the patient, we suddenly modify the regime of intrathoracic pressures”, developed Frédéric Adnet at theAFP.
He made a guess. “We think it’s a chest relaxation problem. Until then the heart is stuck between the two lungs and it’s not clear how it restarts”, clarified, at Parisian, the head of emergencies at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny. According to him, so far no patient with Lazarus phenomenon has survived.