Significance of arterial hypotension after resuscitation from cardiac arrest*

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Expert guidelines advocate hemodynamic optimization after return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) from cardiac arrest despite a lack of empirical data on prevalence of post-ROSC hemodynamic abnormalities and their relationship with outcome. Our objective was to determine whether post-ROSC arterial hypotension predicts outcome among postcardiac arrest patients who survive to intensive care unit admission.


Cohort study utilizing the Project IMPACT database (intensive care unit admissions from 120 U.S. hospitals) from 2001–2005.


One hundred twenty intensive care units.


Inclusion criteria were: 1) age ≥18 yrs; 2) nontrauma; and 3) received cardiopulmonary resuscitation before intensive care unit arrival.



Measurements and Main Results:

Subjects were divided into two groups: 1) Hypotension Present—one or more documented systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg within 1 hr of intensive care unit arrival; or 2) Hypotension Absent—all systolic blood pressure ≥90 mm Hg. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. The secondary outcome was functional status at hospital discharge among survivors. A total of 8736 subjects met the inclusion criteria. Overall mortality was 50%. Post-ROSC hypotension was present in 47% and was associated with significantly higher rates of mortality (65% vs. 37%) and diminished discharge functional status among survivors (49% vs. 38%), p < .001 for both. On multivariable analysis, post-ROSC hypotension had an odds ratio for death of 2.7 (95% confidence interval, 2.5–3.0).


Half of postcardiac arrest patients who survive to intensive care unit admission die in the hospital. Post-ROSC hypotension is common, is a predictor of in-hospital death, and is associated with diminished functional status among survivors. These associations indicate that arterial hypotension after ROSC may represent a potentially treatable target to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest.

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