Cardiac Arrest and Postanoxic Encephalopathy.


PURPOSE OF REVIEW Neuroprognostication following cardiac arrest is a common and challenging dilemma for neurologists and intensivists, complicated by the use of therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management. Great advances have been made in understanding the mechanisms of disorders of consciousness in hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, and new diagnostic and therapeutic avenues are arising. RECENT FINDINGS In the era of therapeutic hypothermia and targeted temperature management, traditional clinical signs, electrophysiologic findings, and chemical biomarkers have now become questionable or variable, and the proper time for diagnostic and prognostic testing has become murky. Although the value of absent pupillary and corneal reflexes remains fairly robust, the presence of myoclonic status epilepticus and a motor response of extensor posturing or worse no longer appear to have acceptable false-positive rates. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), thought to be the most reliable ancillary test for predicting prognosis, have recently been the subject of several reports showing unexpectedly good outcome in the face of absent cortical responses. The presence or absence of reactivity on EEG appears to be a promising prognostic sign, and aggressive treatment of seizures (and even status epilepticus) may lead to better than expected outcomes. Serum biomarkers that were previously felt to be valid, such as elevated neuron-specific enolase, have been drawn into question owing to multiple reports of patient survival with good outcome despite highly elevated levels. Advanced EEG and neuroimaging techniques, particularly looking at functional connectivity and underlying neuronal pathways, are giving great insights to the underlying mechanisms of disease and potential therapeutic targets. SUMMARY Predicting neurologic prognosis following cardiac arrest is an evolving field, with new prognostic methods and reevaluation of older techniques holding great promise for advancing our ability to predict outcome and improve patient care.

DOI: 10.1212/CON.0000000000000223

Cite this paper

@article{Greer2015CardiacAA, title={Cardiac Arrest and Postanoxic Encephalopathy.}, author={David Greer}, journal={Continuum}, year={2015}, volume={21 5 Neurocritical Care}, pages={1384-96} }