Doctors still can’t explain how this man survived nearly an hour without a heartbeat

John Ogburn doesn’t remember a single thing about Monday, June 26, 2017. He doesn’t remember waking up that morning, or helping prepare breakfast for his three young children, or kissing his wife, Sarabeth Ogburn, goodbye. He doesn’t remember driving to a Panera Bread in Charlotte, North Carolina, or going to his favorite booth in the back, where he regularly sat, working on his laptop. And he doesn’t remember crumpling to the floor at about 4:15 p.m., his heart having gone completely, terrifyingly still.

April Bradley was just starting her shift at Panera when her brother told her someone had passed out in the back of the restaurant. When they got to John, he was splayed on the carpet. His face was dark purple. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” Bradley says. She dialed 911. It was 4:17 p.m.

As luck would have it, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Lawrence Guiler was about 50 feet away. He had just tended to a minor accident and was about to get back on the road. Another lucky stroke: Before joining the police, he had been an EMT.

Guiler arrived at Panera in less than a minute and began CPR. Within 30 seconds, another police officer, Nikolina Bajic, rushed in. “Coincidentally, I was already dispatched to a second accident in the same parking lot,” Bajic says. A few minutes later, four Charlotte firefighters arrived, opened John’s airway, and fitted him with an oxygen mask. They took turns ­performing CPR. They also used a defibrillator to try to shock his heart into restarting. It didn’t.

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12 things your mother's health says about you
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12 things your mother's health says about you

Sketchy skeleton

Genetics play a big part in health conditions, so looking at your mom’s health can give you a clue what’s to come. This is especially true of complications that affect women more than men, like osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. According to the CDC, osteoporosis affects 25 percent of women over 65, but only six percent of men—and recent research has found genetic variants predisposing some people to the disease. “There is strong evidence for an increased risk of osteoporosis if your mother had it,” says Todd Sontag, DO, a family medicine specialist with Orlando Health Physician Associates. “Many times this has to do with an inherited body structure of having lower body weight—less than 58kg [128 pounds] in adults or a BMI of less than 22.” Another risk factor is simply having a parental history (mom or dad) of hip fracture, he says. To mitigate these affects, make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and are living a healthy lifestyle. Here are the signs you’re not as healthy as you think.

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Crepey skin

Wonder if you’re going to get wrinkles or skin damage? Take a look at your mom’s face. Research has shown that male and female skin ages differently due to different hormones. “Your mother’s ability to break down collagen and the age when it started breaking down—the age when she got wrinkles—are passed down to you, as well as the pattern of collagen breakdown: Did she get wrinkles around her eyes first, or deeper lines around her mouth?” says dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD, creator of Visha Skin Care. “Looking at pictures of her as she ages helps you understand how to combat your aging process.” Daily sunscreen and an anti-aging serum with retinol, vitamin C, ferulic acid, and vitamin E work to fight these genetic effects, she says. In addition, your skin type, passed down from your mother and your father, can affect your chances of sun damage and skin cancer. Those with fairer skin are most at risk. This is what dermatologists wish you knew about preventing wrinkles.

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Mental health

If you’re aware of what psychologists wish you knew about depression, you might already know that depression is diagnosed twice as often in women as in men, possibly as a result of hormonal fluctuations and women’s response to trauma and stress. “Another important aspect in gender studies shows that women have a more chronic course of depression than do men,” says psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD, award-winning author of Living With Depression. “This means that females experience depression more often and for a longer duration of time than males.” Plus, it’s genetically linked, with Harvard Medical School experts noting that certain genetic mutations associated with depression occur only in women. So if your mother had depression, you should be on the lookout for symptoms, and get treatment if needed. “This is why knowing your family medical history is so important to become proactive about your own personal health,” Dr. Serani says. Here are the signs you’re healthy from every type of doctor.

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Eye issues

Women are more likely to have the eye condition glaucoma, and are also more likely to be visually impaired or blind from it, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Thanks to menopause, women are also more likely to have dry eye syndrome, which frequently occurs with glaucoma. Plus, glaucoma runs in families—so if your mom (or dad) has it, be sure to let your eye doctor know, and get screened for it regularly. “You are at higher risk for developing glaucoma and [another eye condition] macular degeneration if your mother had it,” says Dr. Sontag. “Just like everything else, there are other lifestyle factors that contribute as well.” The AAO says to also avoid smoking to reduce your risk. Here’s how to improve your eyesight—without eating carrots!

Migraines

There are multiple reasons you might have a migraine, and your mother is just one of them. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are three times more likely than men to have migraines, likely because of hormonal fluctuations. The National Headache Foundation notes that 70 to 80 percent of migraine sufferers have a relative who gets the debilitating attacks as well. “One of the main risk factors for migraines is family history of migraines,” Dr. Sontag says. “So yes, if your mother has migraines, you are more likely to develop them as well.” Emerging research is identifying how and why genetics play a role, with one large international study suggesting it may have to do with how the blood vessels function in the brain. But until we know more, if your mother suffers from migraines, you can try to reduce your risk by limiting other risk factors, like getting regular exercise and sleep, managing stress, and avoiding caffeine and any individual food triggers.

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Alzheimer's disease

Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer’s are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The exact reasons why are yet unknown, but seem to go beyond the simple fact that women live longer than men. Researchers have also found genetic links for Alzheimer’s. “There are genetic alleles that have been identified that increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Sontag says. “A maternal history does increase the risk.” The National Institute on Aging reports that if your mother or father has a genetic mutation for early-onset Alzheimer’s (which appears from your thirties to mid-sixties), there’s a 50/50 chance you will inherit it—and if you do, there is a strong possibility of developing the disease. If your mother had Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you can reduce your risk by exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet, maintaining social ties, and staying mentally active. These are the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease every adult should know.

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Weight, body shape and fitness level

As with many other aspects of health, the condition of your body is partly genetic, partly environmental. So if your mother has a certain body type or weight, you may be more likely to have the same one—but that could be the result of learned behaviors, too. “While there is some solid research to support a maternal’s body shape and weight and its influence on her children, this is definitely not the only contributing factor,” Dr. Sontag says. “Many times, the lifestyle of the mother is what is learned and passed down to her kids, which includes the way she eats and exercises.” So if you grow up eating the same way as you mother, it’s not surprising if you develop a similar body. Likewise, the fitness level you can achieve is part hereditary, part lifestyle. “Genetics do play a strong role in our muscle make-up,” Dr. Sontag says. “No matter how much certain people train, they will never be as fast as Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps.” Still, if your mom is overweight, you can help avoid the same fate by eating healthy and exercising, with the goal of being the healthiest you can for your individual body.

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Heart disease and diabetes

Women may believe they don’t have to worry about heart disease, but just like men they need to understand their genetic heart disease factors. Given genetic similarities in weight and body shape, you and your mother might also have a similar risk of heart disease, the number one killer of women, as well as type-2 diabetes. A recent study presented at the American Society of Human Genetics found that maternally inherited gene variants of how women store fat can affect their risk of type-2 diabetes. “There is strong evidence that if your mother has heart disease, type-2 diabetes, or strokes, that you are at a higher risk to develop them,” Dr. Sontag says. “The younger the age that the mother developed it tends to correlate with a higher risk in the children.” But again, there are lifestyle factors to consider. “If your mother had a heart attack at 50, but weighed 300 pounds, never exercised, and smoked, the risk may be completely related to her lifestyle,” he says. “You can’t have soda every day and ice cream every night and then use your family history as an excuse when you develop diabetes.” Still, if your mother (or father) had early heart disease, Dr. Sontag recommends a checkup with a cardiologist. These are the physical and emotional ways heart disease is different for women.

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Pregnancy and fertility

If you’re looking to see what your pregnancy experience will be like, ask your mother about carrying you. “Gestational diabetes is more common in women who are risk for adult onset diabetes, which does run in families, so if you have a strong family history of diabetes, you are at increased risk for gestational diabetes,” says Pamela Berens, MD, an OBGYN with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. In addition, “preeclampsia is more common in women who have had high blood pressure, and high blood pressure may be inherited.” A Norwegian study showed severe morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum, may be inherited as well. As for issues getting pregnant, most causes of infertility and miscarriage are not genetic—but some may be. “There appears to be an increased risk of endometriosis in first-degree relatives of women with endometriosis,” Dr. Berens says. “Rarely, some women with recurrent miscarriages can have an inherited chromosome issue that makes miscarriage more common, and genetic testing can be done.” For some other infertility conditions, such as PCOS, it’s not clear yet whether genetics are at play.

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Postpartum depression

You should also ask your mom if she suffered from postpartum depression after pregnancy. Like other aspects of mental health, it may be passed from mother to daughter. “Studiesshow that postpartum depression is genetically linked,” Dr. Serani says. “Your risk for PPD increases if your mother, or another family member—sister, aunt—has experienced it.” One small study from Johns Hopkins found specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when they occur during pregnancy, can predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression with 85 percent accuracy. The researchers hope this will eventually lead to a blood test that can give pregnant women a better indication of their risk—but for now, knowing your family history is important. “Ask your mother about her postpartum experiences,” Dr. Serani says. “This can informally clue you in to whether or not depression is a risk factor for you.” Here are seven dangerous postpartum depression myths.

Breast and ovarian cancers

Awareness on the genetic link of breast and ovarian cancers may be due in part to Angelina Jolie, whose mother died from breast cancer. After discovering she carried the BRCA1 gene, the actress underwent a preventive mastectomy, reducing her breast cancer risk from 87 percent to under 5. “The gene mutations that are most commonly associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are the BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations,” Dr. Berens says. “If you have a suspicious family history—for example, if you have multiple family members with breast or ovarian cancer, if the breast cancer happened at an early age, or if the same family member had both cancers—it is more suspicious that you could have a genetic tendency.” Talk to your doctor about your individual risk if you mom or other female relatives had one of these cancers, and consider seeing a genetic counselor for genetic testing.

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Menopause

Studies have shown that the age at which your mother went through menopause will be partly responsible for when you do. In addition, if your mother went through menopause early, you should let your doctor know. “Premature ovarian insufficiency, before 40, can be caused by a number of conditions, and some of these conditions can be inherited—for instance women who are fragile X carriers,” Dr. Berens says. Fragile X is a gene mutation linked to the X chromosome, and it can trigger anxiety, hyperactivity, and intellectual disability. As for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, Dr. Berens says scientists are trying to clarify if there’s a genetic link. The first study of its kind in humans, from UCLA, might have found a related gene variant, but more research is needed. Next, check out what your sweat says about your health.

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They shocked him again. And again. And again. They gave him a shot of epinephrine to return his heart to a normal rhythm. Then another. Then another. Nothing. No sign of life. More than 20 minutes had gone by.

“Nobody wanted to give up on him,” says Bajic.

Around 4:30 p.m., while John was receiving CPR from a total of eight first responders, his iPhone started ringing. It was his wife. “I called a couple times, but he didn’t answer,” Sarabeth says. “I assumed he was in a meeting.”

A little over an hour later, she was heading to her parents’ for dinner with the couple’s three children when Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center called. She was told John had gone into cardiac arrest. Know these warning signs that you may be about to go into cardiac arrest.

“It was terrifying,” she says. “When I got there, I was taken into a room with two police officers, ER doctors, nurses, and clergy. Basically, they said, ‘We don’t know what’s gonna happen.’”

Someone informed her that John had received CPR for 38 minutes before they established a pulse; the police estimate it at more (45). In any event, it was a long time. “Generally, after 30 minutes you start thinking, When should we call this?” says Amy McLaughlin, MD, the first physician to examine John.

He was transported to the intensive care unit and sedated in hopes of giving his body time to recover. Two days later—on his 36th birthday, in fact—he started to wake up.

“He squeezed my hand,” Sarabeth says. “I wasn’t sure if I would ever have that again.”

Astonishingly, the only aftereffects were some short-term memory loss and an extremely sore chest from the 3,500 compressions. “Not many people make it out of that situation,” Guiler says. “Seeing that he made a full recovery is—I can’t even explain it.”

Adds Dr. McLaughlin: “Everything that could go right for him did.”

The post Doctors Still Can’t Explain How This Man Survived Nearly an Hour Without a Heartbeat appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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How to stick to a heart-healthy diet
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How to stick to a heart-healthy diet

1. Addition and substitution (not deprivation)

"Yes, you should avoid foods high in unhealthy fats and sugar," says Latimer. "But instead of focusing on what you can't have, focus on what you can enjoy. 

2. Increase fiber in your diet without supplements

Fruits, vegetables and beans are packed with fiber with whole grains: Steel cut oats and berries for breakfast, brown rice, beans and vegetables for lunch and dinner.

3. Try this perfect heart healthy lunch

A salad with leafy greens, tomatoes, salmon and a little olive oil. Kale and spinach are also high in vitamin K and will help boost your heart health. Tomatoes are a fantastic source of antioxidants, while salmon is packed with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Toss in avocado (for blood pressure and fiber) for a filling and healthy meal. 

Olive oil is a good fat and has been shown to reduce cholesterol 

4. Nuts make the perfect snack 

Snack on walnuts, almonds and peanuts which are filled with omega-3s, fibers and vitamin E to lower cholesterol and decrease risk for clots. 

5. Keep fruits and veggies on-hand for easy access

A full fridge can reduce your cravings and mindless eating. A cup of anti-inflammatory green tea once a day can also do wonders. 

6. Moderate intake of red wine

Some studies prove red wine, dark chocolate and coffee have been linked to better heart health. Cheers! 

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