Authors: Parnia S et al., Resuscitation 2014 Oct 6;
Nearly 40% of 140 cardiac arrest survivors claimed memories from when they were in cardiac arrest.
Awareness during anesthesia has been well described, but what about during cardiac arrest? Researchers performed a 4-year multicenter observational study involving a qualitative and quantitative interview of 140 post-cardiac arrest patients in the hospital (52) and after discharge (90).
Overall, 39% of patients believed they had memories from the time they were in cardiac arrest. Using a validated near-death-experience scale, 9% of patients reported such experiences, but only two patients claimed explicit recall of actual events related to their resuscitations. No other patient had memories related to any medical procedure, pain, or experience.
While anecdotal reports exist, this is the first study I’ve seen that attempts to quantify awareness during cardiac arrest. This study’s results might be biased, because there was no consistency in the timing of interviews, and some patients did not complete the interview. Whether these memories “formed” during arrest or later or represent some other psychological phenomenon is not known. Nevertheless, the bottom line is to be careful what you say during resuscitations — you never know if patients can hear you!
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.