Sudden Cardiac Death and Post Cardiac Arrest Syndrome. An Overview

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A satisfactory neurologic outcome is the key factor for survival in patients with sudden cardiac death (SCD), however this is highly dependent on the haemodynamic status. Short term cardiopulmonary resuscitation and regained consciousness on the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is indicative of a better prognosis. The evaluation and treatment of SCD triggering factors and of underlying acute and chronic diseases will facilitate prevention and lower the risk of cardiac arrest. Long term CPR and a prolonged unconscious status after ROSC, in the Intensive Care Units or Coronary Care Units, indicates the need for specific treatment and supportive therapy including efforts to prevent hyperthermia. The prognosis of these patients is unpredictable within the first seventy two hours, due to unknown responses to therapeutic management and the lack of specific prognostic factors. Patients in these circumstances require the highest level of intensive care and aetiology driven treatment without any delay, independently of their coma state. Current guidelines sugest the use of multiple procedures in arriving at a diagnosis and prognosis of these critical cases.

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