Patients of cardiac arrest more likely to suffer from neural, psychiatric disorders: Study

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Rajeev Choudhury

People who suffered cardiac arrest remain at greater risk of developing neurological and psychiatric disorders, researchers of a recent study claim.


The study, which was undertaken by researchers from Aarhus University under the leadership of Prof Niels Secher of, the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital and Stanford University and published in the journal JAMA Network Open recently, the researchers found that the survivors of cardiac arrests are 30% more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke and twice like to have a haemorrhagic stroke within the first year of discharge compared to those who had suffered from myocardial infarction.

Similarly, the survivors of cardiac arrests were twice like to develop epilepsy, while the chances of developing dementia, and mood disorders including depression and anxiety were 23%, 78% and 98% respectively during the follow-up period, the research revealed.

 Accessing data of over 250,000 adults from all Danish hospitals between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2016, the researchers identified all patients with a first-time diagnosis of cardiac arrest (12046 patients) and two matched comparison cohorts, the first being patients with a first-time diagnosis of myocardial infarction (118 332 patients); the second comprised people from the general population (120 460 people).

Stressing that the current was large enough to examine the associations between cardiac arrest and several neurologic and psychiatric disorders based on clinical diagnoses, the researchers said, “Our data are in line with data from a large cohort study showing an approximately 3-fold increase in stroke among cardiac arrest survivors compared with control participants from the general population.”

Explaining their findings, the researchers said that the damages caused to the nerve cells may be behind the increased risk of neurologic disorders including epilepsy and as the patient stabilises and no further damage to the brain occurs, the risk of neurologic outcomes declines over time.

Factors including hypotension, inflammation, activated coagulation, and emboli resulting from myocardial dysfunction, combined with neuronal injury could be the reason behind the high short-term risk of strokes, they added.

Similarly, the researchers found that the cardiac arrest survivors were 80% more at risk of developing psychiatric issues like mood disorders including depression and almost twice more at risk of developing anxiety than those from the general population cohort.

However, the risks declined over time, the researchers said. While the patients from the cardiac cohort were 7.1 and 9.48 times more likely to develop mood disorders including depression than those who had suffered a myocardial infarction, the risks gradually declined over time and became almost similar after five years.

In the case of anxiety, the risks though declined, but after five years, the patients with cardiac arrests were 24% more at risk than those who had suffered from myocardial infarction, they further noted in their paper.

“In this cohort study, patients discharged after cardiac arrest had an increased rate of subsequent stroke, epilepsy, dementia, depression, and anxiety compared with patients with myocardial infarction and people from the general population, with declining rates over time,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

“These findings suggest the need for preventive strategies and close follow-up of cardiac arrest survivors,” they concluded.



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