If a loved one has a heart attack that stops the heart, ends up in a coma, and the treating physician approaches you about taking the person off life support, would you trust that the physician knows when to make the call or how to judge that the person won’t recover?
If a loved one has a heart attack that stops the heart, ends up in a coma, and the treating physician approaches you about taking the person off life support, would you trust that the physician knows when to make the call or how to judge that the person won’t recover? It turns out that the science is rather shaky on when to decide the likelihood of recovery from a coma after the heart stops.
To better facilitate research on appropriately determining prognosis after cardiac arrest and to establish better treatments for recovering from brain injury, a working group composed of a Johns Hopkins Medicine physician and American Heart Association (AHA) experts have released a scientific statement that provides best practices on how to predict recovery in comatose survivors. The statement was released in the July 11 issue of Circulation.
At this time, there aren’t any rules or set criteria for how to carry out a study to predict recovery. Because of low quality, flawed research, decisions related to current policies may result in prediction errors that may forecast a poor outcome for patients who may have a good outcome, or vice versa. Moreover, the lack of standards for predicting outcomes has made it all but impossible to properly study therapies that could potentially heal the brain and the rest of the body after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest.
To develop this scientific statement, the AHA Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science Subcommittee formed an international panel of experts in the adult and pediatric specialties of neurology, cardiology, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine and nursing. The group’s goal is for the clinical research community to develop an accurate, precise clinical test for most patients after resuscitation from a cardiac arrest to determine likely prognosis.
Read more at Johns Hopkins Medicine
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