ABSTRACT: Since the advent of cardiopulmonary resuscitation more than 40 years ago, we have achieved a return to spontaneous circulation in a growing proportion of patients with cardiac arrest. Nevertheless, most of these patients die in the first few days after admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and this situation has not improved over the years. Mortality in these patients is mainly associated to brain damage. Perhaps recognizing that cardiopulmonary resuscitation does not end with the return of spontaneous circulation but rather with the return of normal brain function and total stabilization of the patient would help improve the therapeutic management of these patients in the ICU. In this sense, the term cardiocerebral resuscitation proposed by some authors might be more appropriate. The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation recently published a consensus document on the "Post-Cardiac Arrest Syndrome" and diverse authors have proposed that post-arrest care be integrated as the fifth link in the survival chain, after early warning, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation by witnesses, early defibrillation, and early advanced life support. The therapeutic management of patients that recover spontaneous circulation after cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers based on life support measures and a series of improvised actions based on "clinical judgment" might not be the best way to treat patients with post-cardiac arrest syndrome. Recent studies indicate that using goal-guided protocols to manage these patients including therapeutic measures of proven efficacy, such as inducing mild therapeutic hypothermia and early revascularization, when indicated, can improve the prognosis considerably in these patients. Given that there is no current protocol based on universally accepted evidence, the Steering Committee of the National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Plan of the Spanish Society of Intensive Medicine and Cardiac Units has elaborated this document after a thorough review of the literature and an online discussion involving all the members of the committee and a consensus meeting with the aim of providing a platform for the development of local protocols in different ICSs in our country to fit their own means and characteristics.
Medicina Intensiva 11/2009; 34(2):107-26. · 1.07 Impact Factor