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Post-cardiac arrest management in adults

Jon C Rittenberger, MD, MS
Clifton W Callaway, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Deputy Editor
Jonathan Grayzel, MD, FAAEM


Cardiac arrest results in over 500,000 deaths per year in North America alone [1]. However, advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and post-cardiac arrest care have improved outcomes in select cohorts of patients [2-6]. Among these advances are the use of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) and targeted temperature management (TTM), along with other interventions to improve the care of patients following cardiac arrest.

The critical interventions in post-cardiac arrest management will be reviewed here. Basic and advanced life support for adult victims of cardiac arrest and long-term care for survivors of cardiac arrest are discussed separately. (See "Basic life support (BLS) in adults" and "Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) in adults" and "Overview of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death".)


Management of the post-cardiac arrest patient is complex and must address multiple major problems simultaneously. Issues to be addressed include:

Determining and treating the cause of cardiac arrest

Minimizing brain injury

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 06, 2017.
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