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Mobile Health Technology, Wife's Quick Actions Contribute to Christmas Miracle at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center

April 26, 2012

Nashville, Tenn., (April 26, 2012) – John Granger and his wife, Jutta, were driving home from the grocery store just before Christmas when he experienced sudden cardiac arrest while behind the wheel. Their car veered off the road into a tree and activated the vehicle’s OnStar system. The OnStar operator sent emergency medical services to the accident location and walked Jutta through administering CPR to her husband until the paramedics arrived.

John was taken to TriStar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tenn., for immediate heart care and then transferred to TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center in Nashville to receive further specialized care. Over the next several days, John received heart care from a multi-disciplinary team of specialists. Just eight weeks after suffering cardiac arrest and undergoing medical care including bypass surgery, John had a full neurological recovery and began returning to his normal activities.

Heart Survivor John Granger (right), Brian Jefferson, M.D., interventional cardiologist (center) and Jutta Granger (left) recall their miraculous journey to John's recovery while visiting TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center where John received heart care.

Only about 5 percent of all people who experience cardiac arrest outside of the hospital are able to survive. Without Jutta’s courageous efforts and the skilled medical care that quickly followed, John would not likely be alive today. His survival and recovery were truly a Christmas miracle.

John and Jutta are thankful for everyone at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center for his health and for their compassion.

“They are wonderful people who know what they are doing. They explained everything to us while comforting and caring for us,” Jutta said. “We will always choose Centennial Medical Center in the future. It’s the best.”

John’s Cardiac Arrest
Heart Survivor John Granger, a retired Soldier and current civil service employee at Fort Campbell, Ky., was in good health and had no indication of heart health concerns. While driving his wife, Jutta, home from the grocery store on Dec. 18, 2011, a Sunday afternoon, John experienced sudden cardiac arrest behind the wheel.

“All of a sudden, the car started slowing down. I looked over, and John was slumped behind the wheel,” remembers Jutta. “I was just focused on trying to get him to respond to me.”

Their car veered across two lanes of traffic and crashed into a tree, activating the vehicle’s OnStar system. The OnStar operator dispatched emergency medical services to their location.

John had gone into cardiac arrest, meaning that blood was not being pumped to his brain. Every minute that went by was critical to his survival and the amount of damage being done to his heart. While waiting for the ambulance, Jutta realized she was going to have to start CPR on her husband.

“I had never done CPR before but I knew I had to do something to save his life,” she said. “The OnStar operator walked me through the process until the ambulance arrived.”

Nashville Fire and EMS personnel Fred Smith and Chad Gilley arrived on the scene and took over resuscitation efforts as John was transported to TriStar Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tenn. John was evaluated by the emergency room team and immediately placed under hypothermia protocols, a medical technique used to preserve neurological function. John’s condition remained serious as plans were made to transfer him to TriStar Centennial Medical Center, a tertiary care facility.

“We started making plans to bring John out of the hypothermia protocols and to perform a cardiac catheterization procedure to see how his heart was functioning,” said Brian Jefferson, M.D., cardiologist at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center. “It was a miracle John survived going into cardiac arrest away from emergency medical care. We needed to know what may have led to his cardiac arrest and prevent a recurrence.”

During the procedure, Dr. Jefferson discovered that John had serious blockage in three of his arteries. John needed bypass surgery to survive.

This was a high-risk surgery decision that was made with a multi-discipline team of specialists. The neurological team was very confident John would make a strong neurological recovery. TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center surgeon Lawrence Pass, M.D., performed the bypass surgery, affording John the best possible recovery outcome.

“Dr. Pass graciously performed the surgery on Christmas Eve,” said Jutta. “It was the only Christmas present I ever needed.”

Despite undergoing coronary revascularization, John continued to show signs that he might be in danger of another dangerous heart rhythm disturbance in the future. A small device called an implantable cardioverter - defibrillator, or ICD, was implanted in his chest to protect him from sudden cardiac arrest.

John was discharged from TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center on January 8 and then transitioned to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery until he was ready to go home. Jutta is extremely thankful to everyone on the TriStar Centennial Medical Center team for the healthcare they provided her husband and for the compassion they showed her during this trying time.

“They are wonderful people who know what they are doing. They explained everything to us while comforting and caring for us,” Jutta said. “We will always choose Centennial Medical Center in the future. It’s the best.”

Today
John had a full neurological recovery and is returning to his normal activities, including square dancing with Jutta. He continues out-patient physical therapy and has follow-up visits with his heart care team at TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center.

“I am extremely thankful for everyone at Centennial Heart & Vascular Center,” says John.

Celebrating 44 years of providing quality healthcare to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and the surrounding region, TriStar Centennial Medical Center is a 657-bed comprehensive facility offering medical and surgical programs including behavioral health, 24-hour emergency, heart and vascular, imaging, neurosciences, oncology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, sleep disorder, and women’s services. An affiliate of the TriStar Health System, TriStar Centennial Medical Center is home to TriStar Centennial Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, TriStar Centennial Women’s & Children’s, TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center as well as TriStar Centennial Parthenon Pavilion, one of the oldest and largest full-service psychiatric facilities in the region. Round-the-clock care is also available at TriStar Ashland City, a critical access hospital in nearby Cheatham County. The new TriStar Emergency Room at Spring Hill will provide 24-hour emergency care for nearby Spring Hill, Tenn., and surrounding communities when it opens in 2013. For more information about the services offered and health plans accepted by TriStar Centennial Medical Center or TriStar Health System, call TriStar MedLine at (615) 342-1919 or (800) 242-5662, or visit TriStarHealth.com and choose TriStar Centennial Medical Center. TriStar Centennial Medical Center is located at 2300 Patterson Street in Nashville.

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