Mumbai: Former BMC official loses pulse for 20 minutes, miraculously survives

Updated: Jan 28, 2020, 09:49 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

As retired officer Ashwin Khanolkar has a cardiac arrest on badminton court, top cardiologist gives first aid, calls for a defibrillator from home and revives him

Ashwin Khanolkar with cardiologist Dr Ajit Desai
Ashwin Khanolkar with cardiologist Dr Ajit Desai

The scene at Bandra's MIG Cricket Club on Saturday evening seemed straight out of a medical drama — 68-year-old former BMC officer Ashwin Khanolkar going into cardiac arrest right after a badminton game, and his cardiologist playmate, Dr Ajit Desai, swooping down to revive him with an intense 20-minute CPR . Khanolkar had sat down after a 12-minute badminton game with his friend Yash Nair when he began to convulse.

Khanolkar and nine others, including Dr Desai, play badminton at the club between 8.30 pm and 10 pm thrice a week. After his match, Khanolkar walked around the court as part of the 'cooling down' routine and sat on a chair to watch Dr Desai play. He was talking to a marker (ball boy) when he suddenly began convulsing and Dr Desai, who was barely 20 metres away, rushed to his friend.

"We made Khanolkar lie down on the ground. He had no pulse, which meant he had gone into cardiac arrest. I immediately began cardiac massage," said Dr. Desai, who is Additional Director, Jaslok Cardiology. According to him, such cases involve ventricular arrhythmias that cause the heart to beat too fast, thereby preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain and the body.

He also instructed his friends to get his son to bring the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) machine installed in their housing society. "I live right next to the club. My son, Neeraj, is also a budding cardiologist. We recently installed the machine and an Ambu bag (used to provide manual resuscitation) at our housing society. My son and wife arrived with the equipment and we put the AED's two pads on Khanolkar's chest and delivered an electric shock to bring his rhythm back,"      said Dr Desai.

MIG Cricket Club in Bandra
MIG Cricket Club in Bandra

He and then his son continued the cardiac massage, while Dr Desai's wife provided resuscitation with the Ambu bag. Another evaluation by the AED machine showed that Khanolkar did not require a shock. "This meant that his pulse had begun to come back — a rare occurrence after 20 minutes of having gone," said Dr Desai.

Dr Desai, who is also Khanolkar's family and personal doctor, said that the retired officer had undergone an angiography in 2008. "Strenuous exercise secretes a lot of hormones and adrenaline in the body. These sometimes trigger arrhythmias, usually a couple of minutes after exercise ends," Dr. Desai added.

Khanolkar started stirring and was rushed to the nearby Asian Heart Institute. By the time the ambulance reached there, he was fully conscious. Now moved to Jaslok, Khanolkar might undergo an angiography on Tuesday.

The important take away from the episode, Dr. Desai, said is for everyone to know how to use an AED machine — which can be used by laymen — and administer CPR.

Speaking to mid-day, Khanolkar could not help but agree. "It is essential to have equipment such as AED machines nearby and for people to know how to administer CPR," he said.

"Those involved in sports must also warm up for at least 15 minutes before beginning a game. I made the mistake of going straight to play," he added.

Commenting further on the experience, Khanolkar said, "I have touched hell and returned." When asked why could it not be heaven, he said chuckling, "I am a corporation man. We are abused for so many things as everyone believes we are corrupt. Which is why it was hell."

Khanolkar was known for his demolition drives against illegal structures. After a Bombay High Court order regarding demolition of illegal shrines, he had undertaken a drive against temples and shrines in the Dadar-Mahim area in 2006.

After being transferred to the P South ward, he razed around 800 hutments on mangrove land in Malwani.

20
No. of minutes for which Ashwin Khanolkar did not have a pulse

2008
Year Ashwin Khanolkar underwent an angiography

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