Case Study: Michelle - "A cardiac arrest can even happen to a marathon runner"

Michelle Macleod was at the end of a relay marathon event in August 2019 when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Despite training for several months and having taken part in a large number running events and a half marathon previously, she completed the 9 mile section of the run, crossed the line and…collapsed.

As it was an organised event, there was a number of people at the finish line. Michelle’s husband caught her when she collapsed, initially thinking that she had fainted. He realised quickly that it was more serious and others nearby recognised that it was an emergency situation and she required CPR.

Luckily, Michelle collapsed near a group of runners who were nurses. Those nearby began performing CPR and asked others to locate the nearest defibrillator. Her sister (who is a doctor) was also running that day and crossed the line to hear that she was receiving CPR. She then joined the team of those helping.

A cardiac arrest really can happen to anyone, even if they’re a marathon runner, so it is so important to have some CPR training and be aware of where defibrillators are in your community.
Michelle Macleod

A team of people continued to work on Michelle and give her CPR before using a defibrillator to successfully restart her heart.

Michelle was airlifted to hospital by helicopter and taken to Western Isles Hospital and was then airlifted to Glasgow. She spent 12 weeks in hospital there and had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted before being discharged.

Michelle concluded: “I have found all elements of my life more difficult as a result of my sudden cardiac arrest. I have learnt to deal with things in different ways and a lot of that has been accepting that things are just a little. I’m so grateful for all the people who helped save my life and had the confidence to act in a medical emergency.”