Setting: Modern day.
Searches/terms researched: cardiac arrest, heart attacks, long-term treatment (for both), read several articles on the Mayo clinic/American Heart Association websites, and tried to wrap my head around some scholarly articles.
My character is chronically ill. He's had arrhythmia, asthma, and generally weak health since he was little. In the course of the story he gets mugged, stabbed, and rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. What I need now is for his health to take a severe turn for the worse without him actually dying (not right away, at any rate). Permanent damage is obviously going to be part of that, and I need there to be serious long-term repercussions. (For story purposes, it would be alright if, realistically, the life expectancy or quality of life afterward would not be great. The only thing I don't want is for there to be brain damage/cognitive problems.)
So...my question is, should he have a heart attack, or full out cardiac arrest? Also, according to each scenario, would he need a pacemaker, or an ICD? What other major treatment/rehab would he receive? I'm kind of drowning in info, trying to figure out what elements I need to make my Doctor Speak sound plausible, and I keep reading things and wavering between cardiac arrest taking things a step too far (although medical help would obviously be pretty immediate, due to his being in a hospital already, so I imagine he wouldn't be without oxygen as long as most cardiac arrest victims), and wondering if a heart attack is going to have quite the ramifications I need.
Any input on the matter would be greately appreciated... I'm dizzy with the research and seem to only be confusing myself more the longer I wade through articles. ;)