Scientific Sessions 2015 - scan of a brain

Most adults who survive out-of-hospital cardiac arrests emerge with their brain function intact, even if their resuscitations took longer than previously recommended, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

Researchers studied how the duration of prehospital resuscitation impacts survivors neurologically by analyzing attempted resuscitations on people who suffered cardiac arrests in an urban/suburban area from 2005 to 2014.

Of the 3,814 resuscitations analyzed, 12.2 percent of patients survived. Of those, 83.9 percent of the survivors did not have significant neurological complications (normal function or disability that still allows them to live independently and work) from the resuscitations.

About 90 percent of the neurologically-intact survivors were resuscitated in 35 minutes or less, the other 10 percent took longer than 35 minutes.

In general, neurologically intact survivors had an initial cardiac rhythm that was shockable, had a cardiac arrest that was witnessed by a bystander and first regained a pulse while emergency medical services were on the scene rather than in the back of the ambulance or at the hospital.