Aim: To assess cognitive function, activities of daily living (ADL) and living situation longitudinally up to 1 year after cardiac arrest.
Setting: University hospital.
Materials: The study continued for 3 years and consecutive patients (18-75 years of age) who survived resuscitation were included.
Method: A longitudinal study with examinations using the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale for assessing brain damage, along with the Mini Mental State Examination. To assess ADL, we used the Functional Independence Measure and the Instrumental Activity Measure. Life satisfaction was assessed, together with health-related quality of life. Social status and vocational status were recorded.
Results: Mortality was high during the first 90 days (31%). After discharge, not much improvement was seen in cognitive function. This was reflected in reduced dependency in ADL. Work capacity at 1 year was only 13%. The health related quality of life showed great improvement during the first year, being almost the same as for Swedish reference values.
Conclusions: Most of the improvement resulting in the independence of ADL occurred during the first 45 days. It is important to give the next of kin information about the patient's progress and need for assistance in order to enable them to plan for the future before discharge.