Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 2126–2128 | Cite as

Mode of death after admission to an intensive care unit following cardiac arrest

  • Stephen Laver
  • Catherine Farrow
  • Duncan Turner
  • Jerry Nolan
Brief Report



To determine the mode of death in patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) after cardiac arrest who died before hospital discharge.


Prospectively defined retrospective review of a database and individual patient medical records and ICU charts.


Eleven-bed multidisciplinary intensive care unit in a general hospital in the United Kingdom.

Patients and participants

All patients admitted to ICU between February 1998 and July 2003 after a cardiac arrest in the previous 24 h.

Measurements and results

The outcome at hospital discharge and mode of death in non-survivors were recorded. Based on the mode of death, non-survivors were placed in one of three groups: multiple organ failure death, neurological death or cardiovascular death. Two hundred and five patients were admitted to ICU after a cardiac arrest; 113 (55.1%) after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and 92 (44.9%) after in-hospital cardiac arrest. One hundred and twenty-six (61.5%) patients died before hospital discharge and of these 58 (46.0%) died due to neurological injury. After cardiac arrest, 22.9% of the in-hospital patients and 67.7% of the out-of-hospital patients died due to neurological injury, irrespective of the primary cardiac arrest arrhythmia.


Two-thirds of the patients dying after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest died due to neurological injury and this proportion was approximately the same for ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia and pulseless electrical activity/asystole. Approximately a quarter of the patients dying after in-hospital cardiac arrest died due to neurological injury.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation Mode of death Post resuscitation care 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Laver
    • 1
  • Catherine Farrow
    • 1
  • Duncan Turner
    • 1
  • Jerry Nolan
    • 1
  1. 1.Intensive Care UnitRoyal United HospitalBathUK

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