Neurological prognostication after cardiac arrest

Claudio Sandroni, Romergryko G. Geocadin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Prediction of neurological prognosis in patients who are comatose after successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest remains difficult. Previous guidelines recommended ocular reflexes, somatosensory evoked potentials and serum biomarkers for predicting poor outcome within 72h from cardiac arrest. However, these guidelines were based on patients not treated with targeted temperature management and did not appropriately address important biases in literature. Recent findings Recent evidence reviews detected important limitations in prognostication studies, such as low precision and, most importantly, lack of blinding, which may have caused a self-fulfilling prophecy and overestimated the specificity of index tests. Maintenance of targeted temperature using sedatives and muscle relaxants may interfere with clinical examination, making assessment of neurological status before 72h or more after cardiac arrest unreliable. Summary No index predicts poor neurological outcome after cardiac arrest with absolute certainty. Prognostic evaluation should start not earlier than 72h after ROSC and only after major confounders have been excluded so that reliable clinical examination can be made. Multimodality appears to be the most reasonable approach for prognostication after cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in critical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 6 2015


  • cardiac arrest
  • postanoxic brain injury
  • prognostication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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