NYU Langone

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is collaborating with Sam Parnia, MD, and his team at NYU Langone Health on an observational study that investigates cardiac arrest survivors’ reports of memories or experiences during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and their long-term psychological effects. The long-term purpose of this study is to improve the health and psychological care of cardiac arrest survivors.

The study team will explore survivors’ experiences of awareness or any other memories during the period of time of cardiac arrest, for example, perception of memories or thoughts, and how survivors believe these experiences have impacted their lives.

Why this cardiac arrest study may be of interest to you

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have been diagnosed with an underlying heart condition. There are an estimated 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the U.S., with only a 10 percent survival rate. These cardiac arrest survivors may experience psychological consequences. In some cases, these consequences are negative, resulting in memory impairment, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and more. In other cases, cardiac arrest survivors have reported positive transformative outcomes, such as a recollection of memories during unconsciousness, a life review, seeing a tunnel or a light, feelings of joy and peace, and seeing deceased relatives.

Who may participate in this study

If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may be eligible to participate in this study:

  • Are you a cardiac arrest survivor who is currently 18 years or older?
  • Do you have any memories or experiences from your time of unconsciousness during cardiac arrest? Memories and/or awareness during this time may include visual or auditory awareness, such as watching your doctors and nurses perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), seeing relatives, seeing a bright light, having feelings of peace and happiness, and more.
  • Do you have any memories or experiences from the cardiac arrest, for example life review, feelings of peace, seeing a tunnel or light?
  • Are you suffering from depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the cardiac arrest?
  • Do you have a different outlook on life since your cardiac arrest?

How this study will take place

This study involves two phases:

  • Phase I consists of a series of online questionnaires about how you felt since your cardiac arrest. It will take approximately 45 minutes to complete the questionnaires.
  • Phase II involves a one-hour interview with a member of the study team to explore more about your experiences during and after your cardiac arrest.

How to participate in this study

If you are interested in participating in this study, please complete the pre-screening questionnaire. Opens in a new tab.

This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at NYU Grossman School of Medicine (Study ID: s19-00966) and the Research Ethics Board in the United Kingdom (Study ID: 264874). If you  have any questions regarding this study or would like to request more information, please email resuscitationlab [at] nyulangone.org.

NOTE: This study was first announced by SCAF in August 2020. It is ongoing and survivors are encouraged to participate.