A change of perspective? An explorative study on why patients may not subjectively report cognitive impairments after a cardiac arrest

Pauline van Gils*, Caroline van Heugten, Simone Sep, Véronique Moulaert, Jeannette Hofmeijer, Jeanine Verbunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AIM: Cardiac arrest survivors are at risk of long-term cognitive impairment. Patients with cognitive impairments do not always have cognitive complaints and vice versa. Not reporting cognitive complaints could be caused by a lack of awareness. We hypothesized that caregivers report more cognitive failures than patients, indicating patients' lack of insight into cognitive functioning.

METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of the Activity and Life After Survival of Cardiac Arrest study on survivors of cardiac arrest and their caregivers. They were assessed at two weeks, three months, and one year after cardiac arrest. At each time point, the patient and the caregiver filled out the cognitive failure questionnaire (CFQ) regarding the patient. We analysed the correlation, intraclass correlation, and self-proxy discrepancy between patients and caregivers on the CFQ over time.

RESULTS: One-hundred-and-nineteen cardiac arrest survivors (mean age = 60, 85 % male) and their caregivers were included. The CFQ scores of the patients and caregivers were equally low. The correlation (T1 r = 0.31; T2 r = 0.40; T3 r = 0.55) and intraclass correlation (T1 r = 0.48; T2 r = 0.56; T3 r = 0.71) between patient and caregiver increased over time.

CONCLUSION: This study does not support a lack of awareness of cognitive impairments by long-term cardiac arrest survivors. Future research may focus on alternative explanations for why patients have less cognitive complaints than expected based on the frequency of cognitive impairments. Possible explanations include a response shift.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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