Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Management of Patients After Cardiac Arrest: Now the Real Work Begins

Randhawa VK, Grunau BE, Debicki DB, Zhou J, Hegazy AF, McPherson T, Nagpal AD.
Can J Cardiol. 2018 Feb;34(2):156-167. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2017.11.013.


Survival with a good quality of life after cardiac arrest continues to be abysmal. Coordinated resuscitative care does not end with the effective return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC)-in fact, quite the contrary is true. Along with identifying and appropriately treating the precipitating cause, various components of the post-cardiac arrest syndrome also require diligent observation and management, including post-cardiac arrest neurologic injury and myocardial dysfunction, systemic ischemia-reperfusion phenomenon with potential consequent multiorgan failure, and the various sequelae of critical illness. There is growing evidence that an early invasive approach to coronary reperfusion with percutaneous coronary intervention, together with active targeted temperature management and optimization of hemodynamic, ventilator, and metabolic parameters, may improve survival and neurologic outcomes in cardiac arrest survivors. Neuroprognostication is complex, as are survivorship issues and long-term rehabilitation. Our paramedics, emergency physicians, and resuscitation specialists are all to be congratulated for ever-increasing success with ROSC… but now the real work begins.

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