Objectives: Therapeutic hypothermia and pharmacological sedation may influence outcome prediction after cardiac arrest. The use of a multimodal approach, including clinical examination, electroencephalography, somatosensory-evoked potentials, and serum neuron-specific enolase, is recommended; however, no study examined the comparative performance of these predictors or addressed their optimal combination.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Adult ICU of an academic hospital.
Patients: One hundred thirty-four consecutive adults treated with therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest.
Measurements and Main Results: Variables related to the cardiac arrest (cardiac rhythm, time to return of spontaneous circulation), clinical examination (brainstem reflexes and myoclonus), electroencephalography reactivity during therapeutic hypothermia, somatosensory-evoked potentials, and serum neuron-specific enolase. Models to predict clinical outcome at 3 months (assessed using the Cerebral Performance Categories: 5 = death; 3–5 = poor recovery) were evaluated using ordinal logistic regressions and receiving operator characteristic curves. Seventy-two patients (54%) had a poor outcome (of whom, 62 died), and 62 had a good outcome. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression identified absence of electroencephalography reactivity (p < 0.001), incomplete recovery of brainstem reflexes in normothermia (p = 0.013), and neuron-specific enolase higher than 33 μg/L (p = 0.029), but not somatosensory-evoked potentials, as independent predictors of poor outcome. The combination of clinical examination, electroencephalography reactivity, and neuron-specific enolase yielded the best predictive performance (receiving operator characteristic areas: 0.89 for mortality and 0.88 for poor outcome), with 100% positive predictive value. Addition of somatosensory-evoked potentials to this model did not improve prognostic accuracy.
Conclusions: Combination of clinical examination, electroencephalography reactivity, and serum neuron-specific enolase offers the best outcome predictive performance for prognostication of early postanoxic coma, whereas somatosensory-evoked potentials do not add any complementary information. Although prognostication of poor outcome seems excellent, future studies are needed to further improve prediction of good prognosis, which still remains inaccurate.