Outcomes of critically ill patients who received cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Aug 15;182(4):501-6. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200910-1639OC. Epub 2010 Apr 22.


Rationale: Studies examining survival outcomes after in-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA) among intensive care unit (ICU) patients requiring medications for hemodynamic support are limited.

Objectives: To examine outcomes of ICU patients who received cardiopulmonary resusitation.

Methods: We identified 49,656 adult patients with a first CPA occurring in an ICU between January 1, 2000 and August 26, 2008 within the National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. Survival outcomes of patients requiring hemodynamic support immediately before CPA were compared with those of patients who did not receive hemodynamic support (pressors), using multivariable logistic regression analyses to adjust for differences in demographics and clinical characteristics. Pressor medications included epinephrine, norepinephrine, phenylephrine, dopamine, dobutamine, and vasopressin.

Measurements and main results: The overall rate of survival to hospital discharge was 15.9%. Patients taking pressors before CPA were less likely to survive to discharge (9.3 vs. 21.2%; P < 0.0001). After multivariable adjustment, patients taking pressors before pulseless CPA were 55% less likely to survive to discharge (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.42-0.48). Age equal to or greater than 65 years (adjusted OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.73-0.82), nonwhite race (adjusted OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.54-0.62), and mechanical ventilation (adjusted OR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.56-0.63) were also variables that could be identified before CPA that were independently associated with lower survival. More than half of survivors were discharged to rehabilitation or extended care facilities. Only 3.9% of patients who had CPA despite pressors were discharged home from the hospital, as compared with 8.5% of patients with a CPA and not taking pressors (adjusted OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.49-0.59).

Conclusions: Although overall survival of ICU patients was 15.9%, patients requiring pressors and who experienced a CPA in an ICU were half as likely to survive to discharge and to be discharged home than patients not taking pressors. This study provides robust estimates of CPR outcomes of critically ill patients, and may assist clinicians to inform consent for this procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Illness / epidemiology*
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Female
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology
  • Heart Arrest / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survival Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents