FV hospital successfully saves a 110 kg patient from “dry drowning”

FV Hospital invested in a new Cardiology Intervention Room (Cathlab) in May 2018 to better handle emergency cardiovascular cases, including instances of dangerous myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease.


As soon as his flight landed in Vietnam, 71-year-old Australian patient Mr William Anthur Spiers experienced difficulty breathing and was unable to speak. His family immediately brought him to FV Hospital.

Dr Le Minh Duc from FV’s Department of Cardiology received Mr William, noting that when he was hospitalised, his blood pressure was 170 – 180, he was sweating heavily and had laboured breathing.

His family members shared that in addition to obesity, Mr William has a medical history of hypertension, diabetes and nephropathy and rarely underwent medical check-ups.

It was like Mr William was drowning on dry land, the sound of his desperate gasps for breath echoing throughout the room.

Drawing on his extensive experience, Dr Minh Duc quickly established a diagnosis: the patient’s symptoms indicated that the problem involved the heart or lungs, or both, and he determined that Mr William’s heart was weak, resulting in  arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) and pulmonary oedema (accumulation of fluid in the alveoli of the lungs).

Dr Minh Duc had to stabilise the patient’s condition with medicine and quickly drain fluid from the body to reduce the pressure on his heart. An emergency crew carried out all the steps simultaneously. Over the next three hours, Mr William’s condition gradually improved.

Giving a sigh of relief, Dr Le Minh Duc said: “If the patient had been hospitalised a moment later, we couldn’t have saved his life. Pulmonary oedema is often called “dry drowning” because the fluid collecting in the lung air sacs prevents the patient from breathing, just like being submerged in water, and the patient can die quickly. ”


After treating Mr William for his dangerous pulmonary oedema, Dr Le Minh Duc was still worried about his condition as he was exhibiting symptoms of atrial fibrillation. After a quick consultation between Emergency and Cardiology doctors, the patient was quickly transferred to the Cardiology Intervention Room, managed by Dr Huynh Ngoc Long, Head of FV Hospital’s Department of Cardiology.

Dr Long carefully examined the test results and coronary images.

“The patient has large blood vessels but his blood circulation was poor. The anterior ventricular branch and left anterior coronary artery were narrowed by 90 per cent, resulting in atrial fibrillation and severe anaemia. The patient’s situation was akin to a giant being strangled.”

Dr Long, who has carried out more than 10,000 cardiac interventions, quickly performed an intravascular intervention. First, he canalised the anterior ventricular branch, placing a 45 mm stent to prevent the blood vessel from clogging again.

Similarly, the right coronary artery was also canalised with a 23 mm stent. The whole operation is very delicate as because the “bottleneck” situation could easily increase the pressure, breaking the blood vessels. Stent tubes were gradually scaled up to increase the size from 3.5 mm to 4.0 mm to make the vein expand.

An hour later, the surgery has been successfully completed. Mr William was no longer suffering from atrial fibrillation and gradually recovered his ability to breathe comfortably.

Because FV is a multi-specialty hospital, its doctors were able to save William Anthur Spiers by treating his pulmonary oedema in a prompt, effective way. The excellent coordination of experienced doctors Huynh Ngoc Long and Le Minh Duc with the emergency crew, as well as the accessibility of modern equipment in FV’s Cathlab, enabled the patient to receive immediate, comprehensive care.