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Assessment of neurocognitive function after cardiac arrest

Blennow Nordström, Erik; Lilja, Gisela

Current Opinion in Critical Care: June 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 234–239
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000607

Purpose of review Impaired neurocognitive function is common in cardiac arrest survivors and the use of specific neurocognitive assessments are recommended in both clinical trials and daily practice. This review examines the most recent evidence to guide in the selection of neurocognitive outcome assessment tools after cardiac arrest.

Recent findings Neurocognitive impairment after cardiac arrest was recently reported as one of the major predictors for societal participation, highlighting the need for neurocognitive assessments. A subjective report is a simple method to screen for cognitive problems, but divergent findings were reported when comparing with objective measures. A standardized observer report may be useful for cognitive screening postcardiac arrest. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was recommended for cognitive screening after cardiac arrest. Detailed neurocognitive assessments were reported as valuable for in-depth evaluation of patients in interventional studies. The best time-point for neurocognitive assessments remains unknown. Recent findings report that most neurocognitive recovery is seen within the first months after cardiac arrest, with some improvement also noted between 3 and 12 months postcardiac arrest.

Summary Neurocognitive assessments after cardiac arrest are important and the approach should differ depending on the clinical situation. Large, prospective, well designed studies, to guide the selection of neurocognitive assessments after cardiac arrest, are urgently needed.

Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Neurology, Lund, Skane University Hospital, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Correspondence to Erik Blennow Nordström, Skane University Hospital, Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University, Practicum, Barngatan 2, 221 85 Lund, Sweden. Tel: +46 725998946; e-mail:

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