Recent research has demonstrated value in selected therapeutic and prognostic interventions delivered to patients following cardiac arrest. The aim of this work was to determine if the implementation of a structured care pathway, which combines different interventions, could improve outcomes in survivors of cardiac arrest.
PubMed and review of citations in retrieved articles.
Randomized trials and prospective observational studies conducted in adult cardiac arrest patients, which evaluated the impact on outcome of a structured care pathway, defined as an organized set of interventions designed specifically for postcardiac arrest patients.
Data collected included study characteristics and methodologic quality, populations enrolled, interventions that were part of the cardiac arrest structured care pathway, and outcomes. The principal outcome was favorable functional status defined as a Cerebral Performance Category score of 1–2 at or after hospital discharge.
The systematic search retrieved 481 articles of which nine (total, 1,994 patients) were selected for systematic review, and six (1,422 patients) met criteria for meta-analysis. Interventions in the care pathways included early coronary angiography with or without percutaneous coronary intervention (eight studies), targeted temperature management (nine studies), and protocolized management in the ICU (seven studies). Neurologic prognostication was not a part of any of the structured pathways. Meta-analysis found significantly higher odds of achieving a favorable functional outcome in patients who were treated in a structured care pathway, when compared with standard care (odds ratio, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.46–3.81).
Following cardiac arrest, patients treated in a structured care pathway may have a substantially higher likelihood of favorable functional outcome than those who receive standard care. These findings suggest benefit of a highly organized approach to postcardiac arrest care, in which a cluster of evidence-based interventions are delivered by a specialized interdisciplinary team. Given the overall low certainty of evidence, definitive recommendations will need confirmation in additional high-quality studies.