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For Professionals

Cognitive Outcomes of Cardiac Arrest

Since the 1950’s and 1960’s improvement in resuscitation techniques have led to improved survival for patients following cardiac arrest. Although many research studies have focused on the prevention and acute medical management of cardiac arrest, relatively few have studied the cognitive outcomes following a cardiac arrest.

What does happen to the human mind and consciousness during a cardiac arrest and what is the impact of a cardiac arrest on the cognitive functioning of those who have survived?

In terms of the cognitive processes that take place during a cardiac arrest, as has been discussed elsewhere in this website a number of studies have shown that approximately 10-20% of cardiac arrest survivors will recall some form of activity of the mind and consciousness. Most of the recollections are consistent with near death experiences and although the majority of these descriptions are very subjective a small proportion of people will describe accurate recollections of being able to see and hear doctors and nurses working on them. In almost all such cases the survivors describe a sensation of looking from above and being able to observe exactly what had happened to them from a point near the ceiling.

For more information,
please see: the Learning Zone, Cardiac Arrest Clinical Death.
Also see Publications, Selection Of Peer Reviewed Published Scientific Articles

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