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J Rehabil Med. 2014 Jul;46(7):691-7. doi: 10.2340/16501977-1816.

Recovery, long-term cognitive outcome and quality of life following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

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  • 1, Cognitive Neurology Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston Massachusetts, USA.



Among survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), the functional outcomes of those with rapid early or with very delayed recoveries are known. For patients between those extremes early recovery is variable, and the probability of longer-term recovery and the implications for quality of life have not been clearly defined.


Twenty-five patients of a consecutive cohort of OHCA survivors with coma duration between 12 h and 7 days and a matched group with acute coronary syndrome underwent cognitive and disability assessments 3 and 12 months after OHCA. Correlations and regression analyses of demographic, clinical arrest variables, and cognitive tests with quality of life outcomes were performed.


The OHCA group had impairments in all cognitive domains. There was little cognitive improvement. The OHCA group reported significantly greater health impact and lower quality of life at twelve months than the controls. Longer duration of coma (4-7 versus ≤ 3 days) and greater cognitive impairment at three months, particularly memory impairment, were both associated with reduced late quality of life.


These survivors of OHCA had persistent long-term cognitive deficits. Quality of life at one year after OHCA was reduced compared to cardiac controls. Coma duration and memory impairment at three months were harbingers of long term reduced quality of life.

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