Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure the quality of life of cardiac arrest long-term survivors.
Design: Prospective outcome evaluation.
Setting: The emergency medical system of a mid-sized city.
Type of participants: Prehospital cardiac arrest victims who had a resuscitation attempt from 5/93 through 12/95 and were discharged alive. Patients <18 were excluded.
Measurements: Patients were surveyed by mail. Non-responders were telephoned. The questions assessed Glasgow-Pittsburgh overall performance (GPOP) scores before and after the cardiac arrest. Additional items assessed physical, role, affective, and cognitive functioning, and global health status.
Main Results: 760 cases were collected. 40 had unknown vital status at hospital discharge. The survival rate to hospital discharge for the 270 patients with cardiac etiology and initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation was 15%, and it was 6% for the other 450 patients. Of 68 survivors, 23 died before a survey was sent; two had unknown addresses. 21 patients (49%) responded, and four refused to participate. The mean interval from cardiac arrest to survey response was 531 days. Ten reported good post-arrest GPOP scores, 5 had moderate disability, 4 severe disability, and 2 were comatose. Cognitive function was improved in 1, unchanged 6, slightly worse 7, markedly worse 4, and none in 3. Eleven patients reported feeling happy. Global healdi was excellent for 2, very good 8, good 5, fair 2, and poor 3.