Brain injury after cardiac arrest: pathophysiology, treatment, and prognosis

Intensive Care Med. 2021 Dec;47(12):1393-1414. doi: 10.1007/s00134-021-06548-2. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


Post-cardiac arrest brain injury (PCABI) is caused by initial ischaemia and subsequent reperfusion of the brain following resuscitation. In those who are admitted to intensive care unit after cardiac arrest, PCABI manifests as coma, and is the main cause of mortality and long-term disability. This review describes the mechanisms of PCABI, its treatment options, its outcomes, and the suggested strategies for outcome prediction.

Keywords: Brain; Cardiac arrest; Coma; EEG; Hypoxia-Ischemia; Prognostication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Coma / etiology
  • Coma / therapy
  • Heart Arrest* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Prognosis