Post cardiac arrest care and survivorship

Last week an international research conference Post Cardiac Arrest Care was arranged in Lund Together with Johan Israelsson, PhD and Resuscitation Coordinator in Region Kalmar County, I was invited to speak about peer support after cardiac arrest. Take part in our PowerPoint presentation here

It was a very special feeling to step into the conference room, which was the auditorium of the university hospital in Lund, the same place where many years ago I took my degree as a physiotherapist. This time I was invited to talk about my cardiac arrest and about the work that my wife and I engage in through the Swedish network for cardiac arrest survivors and their relatives.

Moderator at our seminar was Christian Hassager, a cardiologist and former director of a specialized cardiology intensive care unit at the University Hospital Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen and now Professor in this field at Copenhagen University. In September 2017, when I had my cardiac arrest and was treated at Rigshospitalet, he was the head of the department where I was treated. I was so glad to meet him and once again to express my thanks for excellent care.
My grandson Svante had an explanation, he was then three years old.
– ”Grandpa, your heart was broken, but now it’s mended” ❤️

Photo: Kristofer Årestedt

During our presentation, Johan presented current research and what efforts are underway in the area of ​​life after a cardiac arrest, and I talked about my cardiac arrest, about my fantastic lifesavers and about the entire care chain that gave me the possibility to continue living. When I had my cardiac arrest, I had a public role as the president of the Swedish Association of Physiotherapists, (a mission that I finished two years ago).
That made us immediately decide to be transparent about what happened and we have therefore told our story about the cardiac arrest publicly many times. We hope that in this way we will be able to help others who have suffered a cardiac arrest and their relatives.

I also talked about what my wife Annmargreth and I have done and learned in the past five years.First of all, we have learned to take advantage of every day, of the opportunity to spend time with children and grandchildren and to remember that every day is a gift.

Photo: Kristofer Årestedt

We have also learned that it’s important to do what I can do myself to have good living habits. We use at least one to two hours per day to exercise and to be out in nature.
We also work to spread knowledge about CPR, AEDs, SMS lifesavers and the 112 app.
And so it has become a habit to always check where the nearest AED is. It should go without saying that all conferences started with the brief information:
There is the emergency exit, there is the toilet – and there is the nearest AED.

I also talked about the Swedish network for cardiac arrest survivors and their relatives. At the beginning of 2021, we started a Facebook group. In the beginning, we were a few survivors and relatives who, together with the Swedish Resuscitation council and the Swedish Heart and Lung Association, founded the network.

Today we are 300 members and we are getting more every week. Nowadays, the request to join the network can come just a week after the person got a cardiac arrest, and it feels very meaningful to be able to share experiences and to be able to support each other.

In the network, it has become clear that there are shortcomings in the care of relatives. Of course, all the focus easily falls on the survivor, but next to the survivor there are always relatives, who are also hit hard and who need better attention. Here, too, our network can contribute to providing support to each other and to exchanging experiences.

The entire conference was filled with interesting talks and presentations of new research results. A presentation that made a particularly strong impression on me was a speech by Kelly Sawyer, an Emergency Medicine physician and Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, who herself had suffered a cardiac arrest eleven years ago.

She gave a very interesting overview of the whole field of cardiac arrest, and particularly emphasized the field of cardiac arrest survivorship.

It was instructive and very inspiring to participate in this conference. Many thanks to the organizers for the invitation and for a very well conducted conference.

*You can now find all the presentations on the website:’_presentations
The site will be updated as more presentations are submitted.