Long-term quality of life of caregivers of cardiac arrest survivors and the impact of witnessing a cardiac event of a close relative

Janine Van't Wout Hofland, Veronique Moulaert, Caroline van Heugten, Jeanine Verbunt*

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: The incidence of cardiac arrest is high, with a poor survival rate of 8-14%. Currently, only limited evidence is available about long-term consequences of cardiac arrest on quality of life of caregivers.

AIMS: First, to determine the level of daily functioning and quality of life in caregivers of cardiac arrest survivors two years after the cardiac arrest. Second, to study the long-term impact of witnessing the event of a cardiac arrest.

METHODS: A longitudinal cohort study including caregivers of cardiac arrest survivors. Participants received a questionnaire at home. Outcome variables were instrumental daily activities(FAI), emotional functioning(HADS), fatigue(FSS), caregiver strain(CSI), impact of event(IES), and quality of life(SF36).

RESULTS: 57 caregivers (89% female, age 56,9 ± 12 years) participated. Two years after the cardiac arrest, quality of life of caregivers equals that of the general population, although almost 30% still scored high on the Impact of Events Scale. Mean IES-, FSS-, CSI and FAI-scores were increased as compared to the general population (P < 0.001). Two years after the cardiac arrest, caregivers that witnessed the resuscitation (IES = 23.6 ± 14.9) still experienced significantly more trauma related stress than caregivers that did not witness the resuscitation (11.9 ± 12.5; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Two years after the cardiac arrest, quality of life of caregivers is quite good, but almost one third of the caregivers still experience a high level of trauma-related stress, especially in those that witnessed the resuscitation. Future research will have to focus on the effectiveness of support programs for caregivers of survivors of cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Journal Article

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