Early neurologically-focused follow-up after cardiac arrest improves quality of life at one year: A randomised controlled trial

V.R.M. Moulaert*, C.M. van Heugten, B. Winkens, W.G.M. Bakx, M.C.F.T.M. de Krom, T.P.M. Gorgels, D.T. Wade, J.A. Verbunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

87 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Survivors of a cardiac arrest frequently have cognitive and emotional problems and their quality of life is at risk. We developed a brief nursing intervention to detect cognitive and emotional problems, provide information and support, promote self-management, and refer them to specialised care if necessary. This study examined its effectiveness.

Methods: Multicentre randomised controlled trial with measurements at two weeks, three months and twelve months after cardiac arrest. 185 adult cardiac arrest survivors and 155 caregivers participated. Primary outcome measures were societal participation and quality of life of the survivors at one year. Secondary outcomes were the patient's cognitive functioning, emotional state, extended daily activities and return to work, and the caregiver's well-being. Data were analysed using 'intention to treat' linear mixed model analyses.

Results: After one year, patients in the intervention group had a significantly better quality of life on SF-36 domains Role Emotional (estimated mean differences (EMD) = 16.38, p = 0.006), Mental Health (EMD = 6.87, p = 0.003) and General Health (EMD = 8.07, p = 0.010), but there was no significant difference with regard to societal participation. On the secondary outcome measures, survivors scored significantly better on overall emotional state (HADS total, EMD = -3.25, p = 0.002) and anxiety (HADS anxiety, EMD = -1.79, p = 0.001) at one year. Furthermore, at three months more people were back at work (50% versus 21%, p = 0.006). No significant differences were found for caregiver outcomes.

Conclusion: The outcomes of cardiac arrest survivors can be improved by an intervention focused on detecting and managing the cognitive and emotional consequences of a cardiac arrest. Trial registration: Current controlled trials, ISRCTN74835019. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015


  • Cardiac arrest
  • Resuscitation
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Psychosocial intervention
  • Rehabilitation
  • Quality of life


Dive into the research topics of 'Early neurologically-focused follow-up after cardiac arrest improves quality of life at one year: A randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this