Documentation of neurological status in patients admitted to an intensive care unit after cardiac arrest: A 10-year cohort study

Published:October 26, 2021DOI:



      The objective of this study was to describe the documented neurological assessment and investigations for neuroprognostication in patients after cardiac arrest.

      Design, setting, and participants

      This was a retrospective cohort study of adult patients after cardiac arrest, admitted to a tertiary intensive care unit (ICU), between January 2009 and December 2018.

      Main outcome measures

      The main outcome measures were the proportion of patients with a documented Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score and investigations for neuroprognostication.


      Four hundred twenty-seven patients formed the study cohort. The GCS score was documented for 267 (63%) patients at some time during their ICU stay. The proportion of patients with the GCS score documented decreased each day of ICU stay (59% at day 1, 20% at day 5). Pupil reflex to light was recorded in 352 (82%), corneal reflex in 155 (36%), and limb reflexes in 216 (51%) patients. Twenty-eight (6.6%) patients underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging, 10 (2.3%) an electroencephalogram, and two somatosensory evoked potentials. Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments occurred in 166 (39%) patients, and 221 (52%) patients died in hospital.


      In this single-centre study of patients admitted to the ICU after cardiac arrest, the GCS score was inconsistently documented, and investigations for neuroprognostication were infrequent.


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