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Briton Audrey Schoeman revived after six-hour cardiac arrest


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Briton Audrey Schoeman revived after six-hour cardiac arrest


Audrey Schoeman's heart was "dead" for more than six and a half hours

A British woman whose heart stopped beating for six hours has been brought back to life in what doctors have described as an "exceptional case".

Audrey Schoeman developed severe hypothermia when she was caught in a snowstorm while hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees with her husband in November.

Doctors say it is the longest cardiac arrest ever recorded in Spain.

Mrs Schoeman, who has made a near-full recovery after the ordeal, says she hopes to be hiking again by spring.

The 34-year-old, who lives in Barcelona, began having trouble speaking and moving during severe weather in the Pyrenees, later falling unconscious.

Her condition worsened while waiting for emergency services and her husband Rohan believed she was dead.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Schoeman told Catalan channel TV3: "I was trying to feel a pulse... I couldn't feel a breath, I couldn't feel a heartbeat."

When the rescue team arrived two hours later, Mrs Schoeman's body temperature had fallen to 18C.

Upon arrival at Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron Hospital, she had no vital signs.

But the low mountain temperatures which made Mrs Schoeman ill also helped to save her life, her doctor Eduard Argudo has said.

"She looked as though she was dead," he said in a statement.

"But we knew that, in the context of hypothermia, Audrey had a chance of surviving."

Hypothermia had protected her body and brain from deteriorating while unconscious, Mr Argudo said, despite also bringing her to the brink of death.

He added: "If she had been in cardiac arrest for this long at a normal body temperature, she would be dead."

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