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Predicting neurological outcome after cardiac arrest.
Current Opinion in Critical Care
Purpose of reviewTherapeutic hypothermia and aggressive management of postresuscitation disease considerably improved outcome after adult cardiac arrest over the past decade. However, therapeutic hypothermia alters prognostic accuracy. Parameters for outcome prediction, validated by the American Academy of Neurology before the introduction of therapeutic hypothermia, need further update.Recent findingsTherapeutic hypothermia delays the recovery of motor responses and may render clinical evaluation unreliable. Additional modalities are required to predict prognosis after cardiac arrest and therapeutic hypothermia. Electroencephalography (EEG) can be performed during therapeutic hypothermia or shortly thereafter; continuous/reactive EEG background strongly predicts good recovery from cardiac arrest. On the contrary, unreactive/spontaneous burst-suppression EEG pattern, together with absent N20 on somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP), is almost 100% predictive of irreversible coma. Therapeutic hypothermia alters the predictive value of serum markers of brain injury [neuron-specific enolase (NSE), S-100B]. Good recovery can occur despite NSE levels >33 mu g/l, thus this cut-off value should not be used to guide therapy. Diffusion MRI may help predicting long-term neurological sequelae of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.SummaryAwakening from postanoxic coma is increasingly observed, despite early absence of motor signs and frank elevation of serum markers of brain injury. A new multimodal approach to prognostication is therefore required, which may particularly improve early prediction of favorable clinical evolution after cardiac arrest.
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