What happens after a cardiac arrest ?

It's hard to imagine how life can be after cardiac arrest. Finding the right balance between rest & recovery can be complicated

A limited survival rate

Before finding the right balance, the harsh reality must be faced: cardiac arrest is a serious pathology with a very low survival rate.

Cardiac arrest is an extreme clinical condition, where every minute counts.
After their vital signs stopping, only 30% of patients will have a "pulse return" but only 10% will actually be able to leave hospital alive.

1 in 10 individuals may seem like little but given the unpredictability of this condition, it is difficult to be predictable and achieve better results.
But, the vital prognosis remains positive after the hospital exit. We can talk about a survival of:

  • one year for 92%
  • five years for 81%
  • 10 years for 70%
  • 15 years old for 62%

Live well, really ?

The data provided by Dr. Mercier, an emergency physician at the University Hospital Center of Québec, are quite encouraging as survival is not everything: it is also necessary to maintain a certain quality of life such as maintaining autonomy for example.

According to Dr. Mercier, on a scale of 0 to 8, ranging from death (0) to a "vegetative" state (1), to "complete recovery" (8) about 75% of patients are found in the 3 higher categories namely:

  • 66% have no mobility issues
  • 88% can take care of themselves
  • 68% recover their previous activity level

Age greatly influences the ability to recover from cardiac arrest. The older you are, the less likely you are to survive independently.

After surviving a cardiac arrest

Although hope of survival after a cardiac arrest remains low and it must be realistic, a patient who goes through this terrible test still has a good chance of returning to an independent lifestyle.
Good news for the patient and his family and good reasons to conitnue to improve resuscitation care, learning CPR (Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation) and knowing what emergency measures to take.


  • https://www.criticalcare-neurotrauma.ca/fr/equipe/
  • "Bien vivre après un arrêt cardiaque" - L'Actualité
  • Photo : Freepik

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