Background: Evaluation of outcome after cardiac arrest focuses mainly on survival. Survivors of cardiac arrest end up in different states of health and survival alone may not be a sensitive measure for successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Objectives: To evaluate health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) of cardiac arrest survivors with EQ-5D, a generic instrument developed by the EuroQol group.
Patients and methods: From April 1997 to December 2000, all cardiac arrest adult patients admitted to an eight-bed medical/surgical (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital were enrolled. At 6-months after ICU discharge survivors attended a follow-up interview and answered EQ-5D questionnaire. A match-control group was created choosing for each survivor of cardiac arrest two controls, with similar age range (+/-5 years) and similar Apache II (+/-3 Apache II units), that were randomly selected among other ICU patients.
Results: From a total of 1106 patients, 97 (9%) patients were admitted after cardiac arrest. Forty-seven patients (48%) were discharged from ICU. Of these, 11 patients died in the ward. Thirty-six (37%) patients were discharged from hospital. Twelve patients died after hospital discharge but before 6-month evaluation. Five patients were not evaluated, three because they were living in distant locations and two for unknown reasons. Nineteen patients attended the follow-up consultation. Eight of these patients were actively working and six of them had managed to return to their previous activity. Eleven patients were retired and seven of these managed to return to their previous level of activity while four patients presented with anoxic encephalopathy: one with mild and one with moderate neurological dysfunction, two with severe anoxic neurological dysfunction. Although a higher percentage of cardiac arrest survivors reported more extreme problems in some dimensions than other ICU patients, no significant differences were found on HR-QOL, when evaluated by EQ-5D.
Conclusions: When evaluated with EQ-5D at 6-months after ICU discharge, survivors of cardiac arrest exhibit a HR-QOL similar to other ICU survivors. These results agree with previous reports stating that CPR is frequently unsuccessful but if survival is achieved a fairly good quality of life can be expected.