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Late heartbeat-evoked potentials are associated with survival after cardiac arrest

      Abstract

      Rationale

      Cardiac arrest (CA) is a serious condition characterized by high mortality rates, even after initial successful resuscitation, mainly due to neurological damage. Whether brain-heart communication is associated with outcome after CA is unknown. Heartbeat-evoked brain potentials (HEPs) represent neurophysiological indicators of brain-heart communication. The aim of this study was to address the association between HEPs and survival after CA.

      Methods

      HEPs were calculated from resting EEG/ECG in 55 CA patients 24 h after resuscitation. All patients were treated with targeted temperature management and a standardized sedation protocol during assessment. We investigated the association between HEP amplitude (180–320 ms, 455–595 ms, 860–1000 ms) and 6-month survival.

      Results

      Twenty-five of 55 patients (45%) were still alive at 6-month follow-up. Survivors showed a higher HEP amplitude at frontopolar and frontal electrodes in the late HEP interval than non-survivors. This effect remained significant after controlling for between-group differences in terms of age, Fentanyl dose, and time lag between resuscitation and EEG assessment. There were no group differences in heart rate or heart rate variability.

      Conclusion

      Brain-heart communication, as reflected by HEPs, is associated with survival after CA. Future studies should address the brain-heart axis in CA.

      Keywords

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