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Cooling Trend Brings Heartwarming Recovery

Cooling Trend Brings Heartwarming Recovery

Mike Grannis visits Torrance Memorial’s ICU, where CODE ICE saved his life.


For Mike Grannis, 71, December 7, 2012 was a day for meeting new people.

In the morning he met his newborn grandchild, Michael Grannis, in the mother/ baby unit at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. He and his wife, Diana, then paid a visit to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where Mike, Sr. thanked the staff for saving his life just one month prior. He doesn’t remember much of his 10-day stay at Torrance Memorial. So for him, the visit was like meeting many of the staff who had cared for him for the first time.

November 12, one month prior, began just like any other day for Mike, who considered himself in pretty good health, having never been hospitalized. As he sat watching a football game in the cozy den of their Palos Verdes Estates home of 28 years, Mike told Diana, who happened to be sitting next to him, that he “felt funny.”

As she got up to make sure he was okay, he fell out of his chair. He was unconscious, not breathing and unresponsive. Having taken numerous training classes, Diana immediately began to administer CPR after dialing 911. When paramedics arrived just four minutes later, Mike did not have a pulse. However, they were able to restore his heart rhythm and quickly transport him to the emergency department at Torrance Memorial.

Mike had suffered an episode of sudden, unexplained cardiac arrest. According to his cardiologist, Michele Del Vicario, MD, he was an ideal candidate to undergo an innovative treatment nicknamed CODE ICE, because he did not regain consciousness after his heart rhythm returned.

Therapeutic hypothermia is the clinical name for the CODE ICE process. Brain damage begins in just minutes without blood supply. Cooling an unconscious patient whose heart stopped but regained a rhythm and pulse has proven to increase survival and lessen neurological damage.


The body is cooled to about 91ºF for 24 hours before the patient is gradually warmed back to normal temperature. The cooling is achieved using the Arctic Sun® Temperature Management System, which has cooling pads and a probe that is inserted into the patient’s bladder to monitor the temperature. The patient also receives a chilled saline solution intravenously.

After his body warmed, Mike remained in the ICU for nine days so he could receive round-the-clock care. Fortunately for Mike and his family, his consciousness gradually returned.

Mike spent his last night at the hospital in the Progressive Care Unit, where he could be closely monitored before he returned home. While Mike doesn’t recall much of the entire experience, Diana, his son, Michael, and his daughters, Rebecca and Julie, took notice of the “exceptional” care he received—from the time of his ER arrival through his continued recovery under Torrance Memorial Home Health.

“They cared about our entire family, and it was obvious they were highly skilled at what they did,” says Diana. “While they were careful not to raise our expectations too high, they were very optimistic about his prognosis for recovery.

Everyone was wonderful—including the staff who cleaned the rooms. The volunteers were always so helpful, from answering our many questions to offering us a cup of coffee at just the right moment.”

Mike’s son adds, “Some of the staff came by to check on my dad on their days off. This meant so much to my family. They really went above and beyond what I believe a normal hospital would do every step of the way.”

According to Dr. Del Vicario, the likelihood of Mike having a repeat episode of cardiac arrest is rare. However, as a precautionary measure before his discharge, Erol Kosar, MD, a cardiologist specializing in electrophysiology at Torrance Memorial, inserted a small internal defibrillator into Mike’s heart. This acts similar to the paddles used to shock a heart and restore normal rhythm.

Upon regaining consciousness, Mike had some memory loss, which he has slowly regained. Under Torrance Memorial’s Home Health, Mike received occupational and physical therapy to speed his full recovery and allow him to return to work at Riviera Center Management Company, a real estate investment firm he co-founded in Redondo Beach 15 years ago.

With no history of heart problems, coronary or valve disease, Dr. Del Vicario calls Mike’s prognosis for a full recovery “excellent.” With a green light from the doctor, Mike and Diana have returned to walking three miles a day in their oceanview neighborhood. They are looking forward to resuming their former activities with a newfound appreciation, including boating with their family to Catalina and visiting their beloved home in Sundance, Utah. However, what they are most thankful for is the gift of time—to enjoy baby Michael and their other three grandchildren.

The Grannis family has long been committed to volunteering and giving back in their community through the Charity League, Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital and other organizations. Looking for a way to show their gratitude for Mike’s care, they decided to become Patrons of Torrance Memorial, designating their gift to the ICU.

“It [CODE ICE] was a life-saver,” Mike says. “I’m very grateful that Torrance Memorial offers such up-to-date procedures so close to home.”

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