Posted on 06/13/2020
Alex Presciutti, lead author
Alex Presciutti, University of Colorado Denver, lead author

Modifiable provider-patient relationship factors and illness perceptions are associated with quality of life in survivors of cardiac arrest with good neurologic recovery.

Between October and November 2019, members of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation community participated in an online survey study led by collaborators at the University of Colorado Denver and SCAF leadership. The study aims to identify the implications of poor provider-patient communication, lack of readiness for discharge, and illness perceptions on quality of life and psychological symptoms in cardiac arrest survivors and caregivers.

In this first round of analyses, the authors found that worse provider-patient communication, lower readiness for discharge, and more threatening illness perceptions were associated with worse quality of life in survivors. The strongest association with quality of life was threatening illness perceptions (i.e., threatening emotional and cognitive representations of one’s illness status and recovery).

In previous studies, threatening illness perceptions have been associated with worse clinical and psychological outcomes in heart attack survivors, cancer survivors, chronic fatigue patients, and many others. Further, interventional studies in heart attack survivors that have specifically targeted threatening illness perceptions have led to better functional outcomes and fewer psychological symptoms. 

It is well documented that survivors of cardiac arrest often leave the hospital with little understanding of their arrest and the symptoms they will experience when they return home. Further, cardiac arrest survivors often have little follow-up care, despite the numerous post-arrest symptoms that they experience. This initial study shows that transparency about the disease and recovery process, as well as the post-discharge resources available to survivors may need to be communicated so as to promote survivor self-management beyond hospitalization.

The first of several manuscripts from this study has recently been published and is now freely available online as an open-access article at Resuscitation Plus.

Note from the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation: Thank you to the members of our community who participated in this research.