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Cognitive performance and capacity to return home following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest


Before the introduction of primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and therapeutic hypothermia (TH) to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OOHCA) management, survival to hospital discharge with intact neurological function was poor [1, 2]. We aimed to quantify the survival and degree of neurological impairment in OOHCA patients admitted to our ICU since the adoption of post-OOHCA bundles.


Sixty-nine consecutive OOHCA patients admitted to the ICU at Hammersmith Hospital from 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2012 were identified and reviewed from hospital databases. Cognitive status was scored using Cerebral Performance Category (CPC); 1 to 2 normal-mild and 3 to 4 moderate-severe neurological impairment. Scores were determined from ICU summaries, occupational and physiotherapy reports. Hospital discharge outcomes were determined from hospital databases.


TH was initiated in 93% (64/69) of OOHCA patients and 87% (40/46) with ischaemic cardiac aetiology underwent PCI. ICU survival was 58% (40/69); 65% (26/40) scoring CPC 1 to 2 and 35% (14/40) CPC 3 to 4 at ICU discharge. Two patients with CPC 2 improved to CPC 1 during their hospital stay. All patients with CPC 1 to 2 survived to hospital discharge; two required general rehabilitation before returning home. Only 43% (6/14) of CPC 3 to 4 patients survived to hospital discharge; none returned home. Two went into hospice care, one was repatriated to another hospital and three went to neuro-rehab. No CPC 3 to 4 patients improved CPC scores after ICU discharge. Overall hospital survival was 46%. See Table 1.

Table 1 Discharge and neurological status of OOHCA patients


OOHCA patients admitted to our ICU had a 46% chance of surviving to hospital discharge. Most patients left hospital with good neurological status (CPC 1 to 2); moderate-severe neurological disability (CPC 3 to 4) was seen in 19%, greater than previously reported [1]. A higher proportion (35%) of patients discharged from the ICU had moderate-severe neurological disability; most subsequently died in hospital (62%). These figures may represent better ICU outcomes subsequent to adoption of OOHCA bundles but suggest further work is required in neuro-disabled survivors.


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Correspondence to J Petrie.

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Petrie, J., Lockie, C., Brett, S. et al. Cognitive performance and capacity to return home following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Crit Care 17, P305 (2013).

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  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Hospital Discharge
  • Neurological Impairment
  • Therapeutic Hypothermia