TODAY |

UK woman whose heart stopped beating for six hours brought back to life

A woman whose heart stopped beating for six hours has been brought back to life in what doctors have called an ”exceptional” case.

Audrey Schoeman's husband believed she had died after she collapsed with hypothermia while they were caught in a snowstorm in the Spanish Pyrenees last month, the BBC reports.

The 34-year-old began having trouble speaking and moving before eventually falling unconscious. Ms Schoeman’s temperature had fallen to just 18C when a rescue team arrived two hours later.

Her husband, Rohan Schoeman, said in a press conference yesterday, “I couldn’t feel a breath, I couldn’t feel a heartbeat.”

Ms Schoeman had no vital signs when she was transported to Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, but Dr Eduard Argudo, who treated her, said the low temperatures on the mountain helped save her life.

The hypothermia is believed to have protected her body and brain from deteriorating while she was unconscious.

“If she had been in cardiac arrest for this long at a normal body temperature, she would be dead,” Mr Argudo said.

Doctors used a specialised machine to remove blood, which was then mixed with oxygen before being reintroduced into her body.

After reaching a temperature of 30C, Ms Schoeman’s doctors used a defibrillator to jump-start her heart, reviving her after around six hours.

Ms Schoeman was released from hospital 12 days later, and has since almost fully recovered from her ordeal.