Hitting a pothole can save your life, even if it wrecks your alignment.
A 59-year-old Nebraska man who was being transported to the hospital for a rapid heartbeat had his heart jolted back into a normal rhythm when the ambulance hit a pothole, according to published reports.
The man was at work when his heart started racing. During the 20-minute ride to the emergency room, his heart rate reached an alarming 200 beats per minute. Medics from the Omaha-area Gretna Fire and Rescue squad told hospital staff that hitting the pothole jolted the man’s heart back to a normal rhythm, according to a CNN report.
“It’s rare, but it’s a well-described phenomenon,” said Dr. Andrew Goldsweig, an interventional cardiologist with Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, in the CNN story.
Goldsweig, who was not involved in the case, explained to a reporter that the jolt from hitting a pothole can affect the heart in the same way as an electrical shock delivered by the paddles of an automated external defibrillator. He cited a well-documented case from the late ’70s in which the patient’s heart was jolted into a normal heart rhythm by a speed bump.
The rescue squad declined to discuss the location of the pothole to preserve the patient’s privacy, the network said.