Our story began on 18 February 2015 when our youngest son, Bryce had his first cardiac arrest. Since then, Bryce has been diagnosed with a genetic heart disorder called Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT).
Bryce started having episodes at the age of three, the first occurred after he had been running and playing with his sister, Louisa. He was sitting on the bed, when he made a moaning sound and collapsed with loss of consciousness. To be honest, we panicked, he wasn't breathing and we could not find a pulse. He was just lifeless, we didn't know CPR and did not recognise the signs of a cardiac arrest. We ran to the car and sped to the hospital, which is two minutes away. Bryce was held in the car by Louisa, our 19 year-old daughter, who was patting his back; he regained consciousness in the car as we arrived at A&E.
Bryce had a second, less major episode on my wife, Jane’s croft, where after playing with Lucy, our nine year-old daughter, he came up to Jane and said he needed to go home and collapsed unconscious into her arms for a minute before regaining consciousness.
The third episode happened when he was sitting at a desk in nursery. He suddenly collapsed, not breathing and without a pulse. The staff carried out cardiac massage and called the ambulance, he seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. After this episode Bryce was referred to Yorkhill Children's Hospital where after investigation he had implantation of a LINQ loop recorder and following this Jane and myself were trained in CPR and the use of an AED.
A few hours after returning home from having the device fitted, Bryce was outside with us and went running into the hayloft, as he climbed onto the first step of the ladder he collapsed and was unresponsive, looked blue and was not breathing. Jane commenced CPR and fitted the AED, then I took over while Jane called the ambulance. I followed the instruction of the AED and issued a shock, after the first shock the AED advised some further CPR which I did until Bryce coughed and started to regain consciousness. Bryce was transferred back to Glasgow that evening via air ambulance, the information stored on his loop recorder had indicated that Bryce had suffered and more importantly survived an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
The CPR and AED training in the days prior to this event was invaluable, we feel very strongly that CPR should be introduced into our schools nationally, as figures have shown that the survival rate in the UK compared to other European countries that have CPR on the curriculum is significantly lower. As a result of our experiences with Bryce we have insisted that anyone who is involved with him, at playgroup or staff at school are CPR trained and have the confidence to recognise and act on signs of a cardiac arrest.