Critical Care Management of Patients After Cardiac Arrest: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association and Neurocritical Care Society.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Neurocrit Care


california; mission viejo


The critical care management of patients after cardiac arrest is burdened by a lack of high-quality clinical studies and the resultant lack of high-certainty evidence. This results in limited practice guideline recommendations, which may lead to uncertainty and variability in management. Critical care management is crucial in patients after cardiac arrest and affects outcome. Although guidelines address some relevant topics (including temperature control and neurological prognostication of comatose survivors, 2 topics for which there are more robust clinical studies), many important subject areas have limited or nonexistent clinical studies, leading to the absence of guidelines or low-certainty evidence. The American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and the Neurocritical Care Society collaborated to address this gap by organizing an expert consensus panel and conference. Twenty-four experienced practitioners (including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and a respiratory therapist) from multiple medical specialties, levels, institutions, and countries made up the panel. Topics were identified and prioritized by the panel and arranged by organ system to facilitate discussion, debate, and consensus building. Statements related to postarrest management were generated, and 80% agreement was required to approve a statement. Voting was anonymous and web based. Topics addressed include neurological, cardiac, pulmonary, hematological, infectious, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and general critical care management. Areas of uncertainty, areas for which no consensus was reached, and future research directions are also included. Until high-quality studies that inform practice guidelines in these areas are available, the expert panel consensus statements that are provided can advise clinicians on the critical care management of patients after cardiac arrest.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)

Clinical Institute

Cardiovascular (Heart)