Purpose of review
Recent recognition of the importance of postresuscitation care has stimulated interest and new reports concerning therapies for postcardiac arrest myocardial dysfunction. Such cardiac dysfunction after successful resuscitation can be severe and even lethal; however, it is also transient emphasizing the importance of early supportive therapies.
The most important strategies for dealing with postresuscitation myocardial dysfunction include a community-formalized effort by individual communities to shorten the time from arrest to restoration of spontaneous circulation, use of therapeutic hypothermia for myocardial preservation, not just cerebral, and early coronary angiography and intervention for all survivors with a high suspicion of a cardiac cause for their arrest. Exciting specific therapies targeted for one or another of the ischemia/reperfusion myocardial injuries associated with cardiac arrest include manipulation of the nitric oxide production in the myocardium, treatment of myocardial microcirculatory dysfunction post resuscitation, inhibition of Na+/H+ exchange, and treatment of calcium flux abnormalities.
Every community should be striving to provide more timely restoration of pulse and circulation, whereas every medical center receiving patients resuscitated from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest should be providing therapeutic hypothermia for both central nervous system and myocardial preservation. The ability and commitment to provide ‘24/7’ early coronary angiography and percutaneous intervention for all resuscitated victims of sudden cardiac death with a likely cardiac cause for their arrest is also key.