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Improved functioning for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors

The proportion of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors with preserved function over time – measured by return to work – increased significantly from 2001-2011, according to a study published recently in Circulation.1

In Denmark, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are systematically reported to the Danish Cardiac Arrest Register since 2001. During 2001–2011, the authors identified 4,354 patients employed before arrest among 12,332 working age patients (18–65 years), of which 796 survived to day 30.

Among 796 survivors (median age 53 years; 81.5% men), 610 (76.6%) returned to work in a median time of four months with a median time of three years spent back at work, of which 74.6% (N=455) remained employed without sick leaves during the first six months after return to work.

This latter proportion of survivors returning to work increased over time (66.1% in 2001–2005 versus 78.1% in 2006–2011, P=0.002). In multivariable Cox regression analysis, factors associated with return to work with ≥6 months of sustainable employment were:

1. arrest during 2006–2011 versus 2001–2005

2. male gender, HR 1.48

3. age of 18–49 versus 50–65 years, HR 1.32

4. bystander-witnessed arrest, HR 1.79

5. bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


1. Kragholm K, Wissenberg M, Mortensen RN, et al. Return to work in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors: a nationwide register-based follow-up study. Circulation 2015.

Published on: July 30, 2015

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