Lisa Koenecke: COOL-IT

Lisa’s heart event occurred on Oct 23, 2007. She worked for the Delano Chamber of Commerce and was alone in her office; she remembers no part of this story and only knows it as it was told to her.

Lisa collapsed and a woman working across the hall found Lisa on the floor, turning blue. She called 911 and started CPR on Lisa. One of the volunteer rescue workers for the city worked a block away and arrived quickly to help continue CPR.

“God must have a purpose for me yet here on earth, because I’m still here,” said Lisa.

Thanks to access to an Automated External Defribrillator (AED), the paramedics were able to get a steady heartbeat and she was sent via ambulance to the Waconia hospital. When Lisa arrived, they didn’t even take her out of the ambulance but began packing her in ice. This is part of the COOL-IT protocol where the core body temperature is cooled to reduce the risk of permanent brain damage, and was developed from MHIF research.

Lisa was taken to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where they stabilized her. While recovering, her heart was not beating consistently and the doctors ordered diagnostic tests. They did an MRI and learned that she had ARVD, a genetic condition that is often not found until after a heart event occurs; many people with this condition pass away suddenly, and Lisa nearly did.

Lisa’s husband, Greg, was up north hunting when this happened and he received a voicemail from an unknown number. The message it was from the Wright County sheriff, who said they believed his wife had a “seizure” and that they were “working on her.” He drove straight to Abbott Northwestern Hospital where he awaited an update.

Lisa was treated by Dr. William Katsiyiannis, from the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, and she received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which Lisa calls her insurance policy. At her most recent check-up, Dr. Katsiyiannis complimented her on being a “boring” patient, which is a great achievement nearly 10 years after her heart event.

Lisa retired from the Delano Chamber of Commerce shortly after her sudden cardiac arrest and has been working at a golf course and focusing on her husband, Greg, and their three children – Kayla, Mitch, and Joel. Some of her former work colleagues wanted to donate to a cause in honor of Lisa, and they placed an AED in the Delano Area Sports Arena with the hope of helping others who have their own heart event.