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JAMA. 1991 Feb 13;265(6):762-8.

Current treatment of patients surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

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  • 1Cardiac Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests result from the sudden onset of a sustained ventricular arrhythmia in the absence of a new myocardial infarction. Individuals who survive cardiac arrest are at high risk for recurrent arrhythmias and sudden unexpected death. To prevent recurrent cardiac arrest, effective treatment must be provided during hospitalization after the initial episode. Caring for the survivor of cardiac arrest requires a detailed clinical investigation to define the underlying cardiac anatomy and left ventricular function and to elucidate the mechanism and characteristics of the patient's arrhythmia. Appropriate antiarrhythmic therapy, such as drugs or a nonpharmacological intervention (eg, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), is then selected based on these considerations. In addition, ischemia is treated aggressively with beta-adrenergic blocking agents and, when appropriate, with surgical coronary artery revascularization.

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