Blood-Pressure Targets in Comatose Survivors of Cardiac Arrest

N Engl J Med. 2022 Oct 20;387(16):1456-1466. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2208687. Epub 2022 Aug 27.


Background: Evidence to support the choice of blood-pressure targets for the treatment of comatose survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who are receiving intensive care is limited.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized trial with a 2-by-2 factorial design, we evaluated a mean arterial blood-pressure target of 63 mm Hg as compared with 77 mm Hg in comatose adults who had been resuscitated after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause; patients were also assigned to one of two oxygen targets (reported separately). The primary outcome was a composite of death from any cause or hospital discharge with a Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) of 3 or 4 within 90 days (range, 0 to 5, with higher categories indicating more severe disability; a category of 3 or 4 indicates severe disability or coma). Secondary outcomes included neuron-specific enolase levels at 48 hours, death from any cause, scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (range, 0 to 30, with higher scores indicating better cognitive ability) and the modified Rankin scale (range, 0 to 6, with higher scores indicating greater disability) at 3 months, and the CPC at 3 months.

Results: A total of 789 patients were included in the analysis (393 in the high-target group and 396 in the low-target group). A primary-outcome event occurred in 133 patients (34%) in the high-target group and in 127 patients (32%) in the low-target group (hazard ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.37; P = 0.56). At 90 days, 122 patients (31%) in the high-target group and 114 patients (29%) in the low-target group had died (hazard ratio, 1.13; 95% CI, 0.88 to 1.46). The median CPC was 1 (interquartile range, 1 to 5) in both the high-target group and the low-target group; the corresponding median modified Rankin scale scores were 1 (interquartile range, 0 to 6) and 1 (interquartile range, 0 to 6), and the corresponding median Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores were 27 (interquartile range, 24 to 29) and 26 (interquartile range, 24 to 29). The median neuron-specific enolase level at 48 hours was also similar in the two groups. The percentages of patients with adverse events did not differ significantly between the groups.

Conclusions: Targeting a mean arterial blood pressure of 77 mm Hg or 63 mm Hg in patients who had been resuscitated from cardiac arrest did not result in significantly different percentages of patients dying or having severe disability or coma. (Funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation; BOX number, NCT03141099.).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arterial Pressure* / physiology
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Coma* / diagnosis
  • Coma* / etiology
  • Coma* / mortality
  • Coma* / physiopathology
  • Critical Care
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / complications
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy
  • Oxygen
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / analysis
  • Survivors


  • Biomarkers
  • Oxygen
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase

Associated data