Posted by dlc1956 on 12/30/2013

I was wondering if anyone can tell me of their experience with memory problems after being resuscitated. A family member suffered sudden cardiac arrest about 5 weeks ago and is doing quite well physically but can't remember family members and life experiences. Is this normal? I would appreciate any information about experiences and was wondering how long before everything will come back. I appreciate any information.


Submitted by SCAFoundation on 12/30/2013


Hello, Thank you for your message. Memory problems are common among survivors of sudden cardiac arrest. We invite other survivors and family members to share their experiences.

Submitted by Rlmullen12 on 12/30/2013


I am a SCA survivor, and the one memory issue I have is my short term memory is gone. So now I have to write it down of I will forget, but that is a small price to pay to still be with y family.

Thank you for your post it means so much to hear from others that have experienced this. It sounds like you are doing very well which is so wonderful. My loved one does not remember being married or having a child which we are hoping is temporary did you have any experience like that?

Short term memory loss is driving me crazy. At first I didn't know who my sister or my daughter was but knew my husband as soon as they woke me up. Even now almost 7 weeks later I still have to write stuff down or I forget what I'm going into the other room to do. My husband helps a lot with that. I'm a little worried about going back to work on the 11th. The doc says it's going to get better with time. I'm just thanking God that I am one of the less than 10%that survived.Good luck!

Wow it sounds like your experience is similar and around the same time. It gets a little better each day it seems. From what we are being told it takes a bit of time for the brain to catch up with the body as far as recovery goes. Thank you for sharing it helps to know there are others out there going thru the same thing and doing well. Best wishes for you continuing recovery.

Submitted by boblundsten on 01/06/2014


My wife suffered a sudden cardiac arrest 12 years ago. She went 40 minutes without a spontaneous heartbeat before she was revived at the hospital.
Memory loss is known as an Anoxic Brain injury where the brain is damaged by the lack of O2.
There is hope that some if not all of the memories will come back.
At first the recovery will be dramatic.
When my wife awoke from her coma, she knew no one. but with in time she knew me and my three little girls by name and sight
She still still struggles with friends, knowing who they are just cannot put a name to that person…

While there are never guarantees in life, my wife has recovered about 95%. She drives, shops, now knows family members by name.

It is a long journey not only for the patient but the family and care providers.
As a cre provider be prepared to repeat yourselves a lot and not get frustrated.

It is a process, but I thank God everyday

Submitted by heartgeek on 01/12/2014


The lost of short-term memory was severe for me at first, but gradually cleared up. After my SCA and while still in the hospital, I could not remember much . The doctors had a simple test. They would walk in the room and tell me to remember "apple, ball, cat". After a couple of minutes, they would test me. I drew a blank for the first several days. After about a week, I was able to remember the phrase. After bypass surgery and the implantation of an ICD, I spent about 3 months recovering before I went back to work. Although I thought I had recovered my short-term memory, being in a work environment reminded me that I had not. I would lose my train of thought in mid-sentence. Literally couldn't remember what I was talking about. Concentration was a big issue early on as well. It's been almost 7 years since my SCA and I think my memory is normal. My wife is in perfect health and we seem about the same from a memory perspective! It takes time - be patient and good luck. Paul

Submitted by allisong on 01/13/2014


Our son suffered short term memory loss after his SCA in 2009 at the age of 14 years old.. From all of the studies I have read, it is perfectly normal. After several months, he seemed to have regained basically all of it back. He still does not remember incidents leading directly up to the event. He was able to resume all of his academic studies, and now is a freshman in college. Do not give up hope that most, if not all, of one's memory will return. Your body and your mind need time to heal. Wishing your family member health and wellness in their road to recovery., Allison

Submitted by Dsterback1 on 12/06/2014


Hi, I'm a 38 year old cardiac arrest survivor. I actually died 4 times, 4 years ago today.. I can honestly say, my memory is horrible. I forget to turn the stove off, and the oven.. I will walk to another room to do something and forget why i went there. I'll open the refrigerator and stand there blank, unsure of why i am there. Thats not all either.. I'll be mid sentence and just stop and not realize that i stopped. And here the worst part i think... I'll have conversations with myself in my head and think that i've had the conversation with my fiance... We had problems because I wasn't communicating with her and that was because in my head, we already had the conversation. I don't have problems remembering people in my family or any of my friends at all but people that i used to talk to from time to time i draw a blank when i see their faces... It also seems that my temper has gotten shorter since all of this has happened to me.. I'm not sure if its the fact that i quit smoking 4 years ago or the fact that i quit drinking 4 years ago and it's irritating to me but i just can't pinpoint it.. Who knows. I do know that I don't have any major brain injuries from my cardiac arrest, thank God. These minor setbacks are just that, minor.. I'll gladly have memory problems and things of that nature for a second chance at life and to see my kids and my family and friends and finally marry the woman i've loved for so many years.. God has given all of us that second chance, and I myself tend to do this but, dont take that for granted.. Live your life.. Enjoy it. Now if you're on a low sodium diet like i am, make sure you live by it.. We all know tomorrow isn't promised.. Thanks for letting me talk to you guys, I wish you all the best of luck on your second chance at life and hope you all have a great christmas and a happy and safe new year. Derek.

Submitted by mamakitty on 10/26/2015


Hi, I'm trying to figure out how this thing works. I wanted to answer a question about memory after cardiac arrests. But had to register and now don't know where I am, sorry lol


My daughter has a severe TBI and sometimes her memory is better than mine. My neurologist said I too have a tbi from cardiac arrests. I had two. I've also hit my head hard twice yadayadayada but that's another story for another time. Cardiac arrests cause TBI's Traumatic Brain Injury. To what extent? Everyone is different, I've noticed other trouble also: very irritable (hate this one too since I'm taking care of my beautiful daughter with severe TBI and need patience). I fall down. I get to where I can't stay focused or get confused easily. Some of this could be stress and grief of my beautiful daughter's sudden brain injury, (the day my sky fell), at the same time I'm told it's a brain injury caused by cardiac arrests most definitely. So I have a lot on my plate, (that's the tip of the iceberg). I carry over shoulder little pretty brown leather messenger bag for my phone, keys, all my cards, pens, earphones and if I could fit remote in there, I'd get that too haha. But seriously it beats losing all this stuff, literally, every five minutes. I have to write Everything down! I have to put things back right away or will set them down somewhere and then have to search. I'm sick of searching but my two ideas (messenger bag and put things back immediately after use) helps cut the searching down big time. I can sit and draw, be on computer or maybe read mail, and lose something. With out even moving! I can have pad and pen ready to go and I forget what I just thought of to write down. Causes a lot of anxiety. Already medicated over grief of my daughter's TBI, and I fought it but now I'm welcoming it. Doesn't do anything for memory tho. My memory gets so awful it drives me crazy. So whoever wrote and asked if they have memory problems after cardiac arrest, Hell YA! I honestly don't even know if I will remember how to get back in here, and That's with saving it in my bookmarks. So don't feel like the lone ranger. Life isn't what we thought it would be. I was 25, beautiful, beautiful baby, and all I did was "blink." I tell young adults to not blink. Life on life's terms is a hard one to bare, but it is what it is. My memory is a royal pain in the ##@%
Thank you - hope to find you all again...

Submitted by karins1114 on 01/26/2016


I am so glad I found this site. I suffered SCA on 11/11/15. My boyfriend did CPR for 10 minutes while waiting for the EMTs to arrive. They tried several times and could not revive me. It took several tries once I was at the ER. I was in a coma, and body temperature lowered for several days. On 11/19/15, I went into surgery for a defib/pacemaker implant. I've done well in recuperating, walking, going up steps, using the computer, finally driving again, pretty much back to normal activities (have to wait a bit longer to go back to work). My BIG concern has been my short term memory. I apparently had a couple of friends visit me after my surgery - have no memory of them being there. I can be in a conversation and forget what we were talking about. My panic moment this morning was I'd thought I'd lost my cross necklace. I checked the shower, closet, everywhere. Where did I find it? In with my other jewelry on my dresser. I do NOT remember taking it off. I never take it off. Finally decided to Google memory loss and found this site. So happy to know it can get better. Thank you.

Submitted by Caribbeansurvivor on 05/15/2016


Dear all thanks for the comments , my sister suffered sca and was resuscitated immediately however she as well suffers from short term memory loss and the ability to retain new memories , has anyone found any brain training activities to boost this ability ,besides keeping a diary

Submitted by Paloma on 09/08/2016


Hello all,

My brother just had a sca last week, Thanks to God, he is awake now but he is having memory problems. He recognized his kids, his nephew, but he does not remember his name. While in the induced coma and the cooling process, I spoke to him a lot, mentioning that my husband and my cousin were there. Now, when we ask his name, he says his name is that of my husband or my cousin. Also, we asked who his parents are, and he remembered them, but after a while of thinking. He seems disoriented of where he is now, he says he is in the city were we lived when kids. My question is if he could eventually remember his name and regain some of his memory. Could somebody please answer me and help me understand this process?

Thank you very much

Submitted by Bob Trenkamp on 09/08/2016



The responses you get from the SCA victims on this site will be a lot more meaningful than mine, but for what it's worth, I have discussed this with two SCA survivors. One had severe memory problems and has gotten better over the past four years. The other one remembers a lot because the "CPR" he received was with a doctor's hand in his chest, providing so much better circulation than someone receiving chest compression. He was actually conscious, but heavily sedated, for part of the resuscitation process.



My husband had a SCA only 6 months (may 14, 2016) ago and is still struggling with his memory (long and short term). He too would would think he's having a conversation with me, but only would voice part of it.

Submitted by wifeandcaretaker on 07/18/2017


I say "we" because it really has happened to both of us. My husband had an "Out of Hospital" SCA and I was with him alone at the time. I did know CPR thankfully and was able to start it and continue until paramedics got there. The 911 Operator was absolutely invaluable during that time in keeping me focused and on task. In fact, she received a "Live Saving" award for it. My husband was down for a total of one hour and 10 minute, by the time we reached the ER. The cardiologist had come out to say he was so very sorry. It had just been too long. He was going to order some tests and then we would have another conversation. I knew what that conversation would be. So my girls and I went in to sit with him while we waited. To our astonishment, he woke up. We talked to him, he squeezed our hands, looked around and moved his feet. When he worked out, on his own, to blink once for yes and twice for no, we knew he was going to be okay.
Our journey has been a long one and is definitely not over yet, but we have hope. His short term memory has certainly taken a hit, but is getting better as we go. To start with he was missing about 6 months of time prior to the SCA, but now he remembers most major events. The here and now seem to give the most problems as he will ask many times a day, what day is it and which therapist is coming. He has some on going neurological issues with speech and movements. He continues to have a halting gait, but is on many meds that may also be the issue. The doctors are working on that. He is very happy and works very hard with his therapies. I know I am blessed, because it could be very different, I'm sure. Many prayers went up for this sweet man and his survival is a sure testimony to that fact. Our journey goes on and we will see where we land after some time. The doctors have been encouraging about his recovery.