We present the case of a 45-year-old patient who was brought to our emergency department with an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The patient arrived 45 minutes after collapse due to ventricular fibrillation. The initial rhythm at arrival to the emergency department was asystole. His laboratory results showed profound lactic acidosis (lactate of 21 mmol/l and pH of 6.6). Time to arrival, rhythm at presentation and the observed lactic acidosis were all interpreted as prognostic signs of a poor outcome but, despite that, it was decided to treat the patient with extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR). Subsequently percutaneous coronary intervention was performed. In contrast to the poor prognosis, the patient was discharged on day 6 with no discernible neurological deficit. This case illustrates that despite biochemical data suggesting profound tissue ischaemia/hypoxia, the outcome of ECPR may be excellent. Such data cannot be reliably used as a single indicator to decide whether or not ECPR should be initiated.
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