The Brain after Cardiac Arrest

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Abstract

Cardiac arrest is common and deadly. Most patients who are treated in the hospital after achieving return of spontaneous circulation still go on to die from the sequelae of anoxic brain injury. In this review, the authors provide an overview of the mechanisms and consequences of postarrest brain injury. Special attention is paid to potentially modifiable mechanisms of secondary brain injury including seizures, hyperpyrexia, cerebral hypoxia and hypoperfusion, oxidative injury, and the development of cerebral edema. Finally, the authors discuss the outcomes of cardiac arrest survivors with a focus on commonly observed patterns of injury as well as the scales used to measure patient outcome and their limitations.

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