Post-Cardiac Arrest Care : Therapeutic Hypothermia, Patient Outcomes and Relatives’ Experiences

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of the thesis was to study post-resuscitation care of cardiac arrest (CA) patients with a focus on therapeutic hypothermia treatment, outcomes up to six months post-CA and relatives’ experiences during the hospital stay.In Paper I, the aim was to asses effectiveness of hypothermia treatment with cold, 4°C, intravenous crystalloid infusion combined with ice packs. In conclusion, the described cooling method was found to be useful for inducing and maintaining hypothermia, allowed good temperature control during rewarming and to be feasible in clinical practice.The aim in Paper II was to investigate biomarkers and the association of serum glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels with outcome, and to compare GFAP with neuron-specific enolas (NSE) and S100B. The result showed increased GFAP levels in the poor outcome group, but did not show sufficient sensitivity to predict neurological outcome. Both NSE and S100B were shown to be better predictors. A combination of the investigated biomarkers did not increase the ability to predict neurological outcome.In Paper III, the aim was to investigate whether there were any changes in and correlations between anxiety, depression and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) over time, between hospital discharge and one and six months post-CA. There was improvement over time in HRQoL, but changes over time in anxiety and depression were not found. Physical problems seemed to affect HRQoL more than psychological problems. The results also indicate that the less anxiety and depression patients perceive, the better their HRQoL.In the fourth paper, the aim was to describe relatives’ experiences during the next of kin’s hospital stay after surviving a CA. The analysis resulted in three themes: The first period of chaos, Feeling secure in a difficult situation, and Living in a changed existence.In conclusion, the results of the thesis have helped to improve knowledge within the areas studied and reveal aspects that should be taken into account in the overall treatment of this group of patients. The thesis have also shown the importance of developing an overall view and establishing a chain of care from an individual’s CA until follow-up for both the patient and his/her relatives.