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

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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.

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