Resuscitology is the science of reanimation from apparent death or from unconsciousness. Prior to the last quarter of this century, resuscitation was steeped in myth, supported only by anecdote, and founded on unphysiologic principles. The development of new, scientifically based, modern concepts and practice of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) injected great hope into improving the chances for survival and quality of life for cardiac patients.
Recent reports indicate that there are nearly 70,000 “successful” cardiac resuscitations annually. However, it is estimated that only 10% are able to resume their former lifestyles. It is anticipated that with the expansion of prehospital emergency medical services, this proportion will increase. These facts have stimulated intense research aimed at elucidating the pathophysiology of cellular death with the goal of protecting the brain during cardiac arrest.