Prolonged asystolic hyperkalemic cardiac arrest with no neurologic sequelae

Ann Emerg Med. 1994 Aug;24(2):305-11. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(94)70144-x.


We report the case of a 70-year-old man who developed cardiac arrest secondary to hyperkalemia that complicated severe chronic renal failure due to obstructive uropathy. The patient experienced electromechanical dissociation and approximately 26 minutes of asystole after which the resuscitation was suspended. However, 8 to 10 minutes after declaration of death, the patient was noted to have developed spontaneous return of circulation as the emergency department personnel were preparing to transport him to the morgue. The patient survived and was discharged without apparent neurologic sequelae. This case demonstrates the challenges facing physicians to predict the outcome of hyperkalemic cardiac arrest based on usual parameters. It also highlights the relative paucity of resuscitation guidelines to assist in the management of this medical emergency.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Heart Arrest / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperkalemia / complications*
  • Hyperkalemia / therapy
  • Male