Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Lissette Caro, a 53-year-old Parkland resident, visited her primary doctor for her annual physical and expressed she had been feeling anxiety. Her stress test with a cardiologist had to be canceled amid lockdowns.
Months later, the mother of two was home alone with her children when she suddenly collapsed. According to Caro’s daughter, she heard a loud noise and found her mother laying on the floor unresponsive. Her daughter, who was 13 years old at the time, started to perform CPR until first responders arrived.
Caro went into cardiac arrest and was transported to Broward Health Coral Springs. Dr. Gary Lai, chief of emergency medicine at Broward Health Coral Springs, said the medical team used an aggressive treatment to save Caro’s life. She was then admitted to the critical care unit for one week where she also suffered several mini-strokes.
“Although my family couldn’t visit me at the hospital because it was the peak of COVID, they think Dr. Lai was great,” Caro said. “He FaceTimed my husband to give him updates on my condition.”
After she recovered, she was transferred to the cardiac unit at Broward Health North where Sameer Satija, M.D., a cardiologist-electrophysiologist, implanted a defibrillator.
“Initially despite her young age I was worried that her prognosis was grim, but she beat all the odds.” Dr. Satija said. “I implanted the cardiac defibrillator to protect her from further lethal arrhythmias,”
For the next two weeks, she did cardiac rehab, which included physical therapy and occupational therapy.
“I never thought I would go into cardiac arrest,” Caro said. “I don’t have a history of cardiac disease, and I usually have low blood pressure.”
Caro is now living her life to the fullest. She often attends her children’s sporting events and roller skates in her free time.
“Broward Health saved my life,” Caro said.