Long-term Outcome After Survival of a Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study

Veronique R. M. Moulaert*, Caroline M. van Heugten, Ton P. M. Gorgels, Derick T. Wade, Jeanine A. Verbunt

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background. A cardiac arrest can lead to hypoxic brain injury, which can affect all levels of functioning. Objective. To investigate 1-year outcome and the pattern of recovery after surviving a cardiac arrest. Methods. This was a multicenter, prospective longitudinal cohort study with 1 year of follow-up (measurements 2 weeks, 3 months, 1 year). On function level, physical/cardiac function (New York Heart Association Classification), cognition (Cognitive Log [Cog-log], Cognitive Failures Questionnaire), emotional functioning (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Impact of Event Scale), and fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale) were assessed. In addition, level of activities (Frenchay Activities Index, FAI), participation (Community Integration Questionnaire [CIQ] and return to work), and quality of life (EuroQol 5D, EuroQol Visual Analogue Scale, SF-36, Quality of Life after Brain Injury) were measured. Results. In this cohort, 141 cardiac arrest survivors were included. At 1 year, 14 (13%) survivors scored below cutoff on the Cog-log. Both anxiety and depression were present in 16 (15%) survivors, 29 (28%) experienced posttraumatic stress symptoms and 55 (52%), severe fatigue. Scores on the FAI and the CIQ were, on average, respectively 96% and 92% of the prearrest scores. Of those previously working, 41 (72%) had returned to work. Most recovery of cognitive function and quality of life occurred within the first 3 months, with further improvement on some domains of quality of life up to 12 months. Conclusions. Overall, long-term outcome in terms of activities, participation, and quality of life after cardiac arrest is reassuring. Nevertheless, fatigue is common; problems with cognition and emotions occur; and return to work can be at risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-539
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • cardiac arrest
  • outcome
  • emotions
  • fatigue
  • participation
  • quality of life

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