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  • Samantha Kankelfitz

Samantha Kankelfitz

Pregnant woman and her unborn baby survive cardiac arrest

Samantha Kankelfitz

Samantha Kankelfitz, who was six months pregnant, was walking with a friend in St. Cloud when she collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Her friend did not know CPR, but called 911 and hailed a passing car. A person in the car stopped and performed bystander CPR until St. Cloud police arrived and took over chest compression.

Treatment Involved CPR and ResQPOD

Because Samantha was in St. Cloud, she received a unique treatment that includes CPR and the use of a device called the ResQPOD, which doubles circulation to the brain as well as to the heart. The device, along with an automated external defibrillator (AED), is carried in all first-responder vehicles in St Cloud, thanks to the Take Heart St. Cloud program through the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at St. Cloud Hospital.

Samantha had a pulse, but was comatose when Gold Cross Ambulance arrived and transported her to St. Cloud Hospital. At the hospital, she was treated with therapeutic hypothermia. Her body was cooled to 92.3 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours to help preserve brain function.

Her Cardiologist Implanted a Defibrillator

After she awoke, two days after the arrest, her cardiologist implanted a defibrillator in her chest to protect her from a potential cardiac arrest in the future. She was discharged, totally intact, and delivered a healthy baby girl named Serenity Joy a few months later.

Samantha and her baby were part of a historic save and would not be with us today without the efforts of the Take Heart St. Cloud program. She is the first pregnant woman in the world to receive treatment with the ResQPOD and only the third pregnant woman to be cooled.

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Read other stories of patient's courage and the care they received at the St. Cloud Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

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