Positive Cognitive Outcomes for Survivors of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Heartwire/From Medscape/Susan Jeffrey
Toronto, ON – April 19, 2010 – A new study of survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest shows that a median of eight years after their event, about two-thirds are cognitively unimpaired and nearly all are functioning independently.
“Approximately two out of three out-of-hospital cardiac-arrest survivors with ventricular fibrillation as the presenting rhythm are cognitively unimpaired in long-term follow up,” lead author Dr. Farrah Mateen (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD) concluded in her presentation. “There were no patients who entered a permanently vegetative or minimally conscious state and nearly all survivors in this study were functionally independent.”
Long-term memory was judged similar to those seen in the general population of the same age in two out of three people and verbal IQ was actually higher in these survivors, she noted.
Survival rates after cardiac arrest vary widely in the US, ranging from 1% to 46% in some settings, the authors note. Similarly, previous estimated rates of neurological injury after cardiac arrest vary widely, making it difficult to generalize findings to the populaton level.

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