Bijal Naya Desai, MD
Heart and Vascular

“CPR Saved My Life”: Dr. Desai’s Story

Feb 3 2023

As a seemingly healthy physician, Bijal Naya Desai, MD, (pictured above, right) one of our internal medicine physicians at Millennium Internal Medicine, had worked like any other day and came home to spend time with her significant other. She recalls telling him that she wasn’t feeling well, and then collapsed.

“I don’t remember anything after I collapsed,” Dr. Desai shares. “He performed CPR and immediately called 911, performing compressions for 10 minutes. The only interrupted time where he stopped compressions was to let in the EMS team in our home.”

She continues, “I went into cardiac arrest again on the way to the hospital, and two more times while I was in the hospital.”

It was determined that Dr. Desai suffered from long QT syndrome (LQTS), which is a rare disorder that can be genetic or acquired. It affects the electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to beat irregularly, which can lead to fainting, seizures or sudden death. Dr. Desai successfully had a defibrillator placed and now lives a very normal, healthy life.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the survival rate for people receiving CPR outside of the hospital is about 8 percent.

“My biggest goal is to spread awareness, especially around Heart Month, for people to get CPR-certified,” Dr. Desai says. “CPR saved my life, but because of the quick thinking of my significant other to perform CPR and the work of the EMS team that arrived, I am living to tell my story.”

Two years after the incident, Dr. Desai was able to get in touch with her local fire station to find the team that helped to save her life (pictured above, left).

“I’m still in touch with them today,” she adds.

Dr. Desai’s mission is to continue to spread awareness of the importance of CPR certification. In fact, she is being honored at the 2023 Upstate Heart Ball on March 11, 2023, where she will share her heart story during this special event.

In honor of Heart Month, we are hosting a free heart screening at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Learn more about this event.

Also, learn about the heart and vascular care services we provide at Bon Secours.

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