Abstract P40: Long Term Survivors of Cardiac Arrest Describe Persistant Fears and Disabilities
Background: While survival from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is accompanied by a range of both neurologic disabilities and impact upon victims as well as their families, there is a paucity of data describing the perspectives and self-perceived disabilities of longer-term survivors.
Objective: To survey a population of SCA survivors and categorize their physical and emotional concerns as well as post-arrest preparedness.
Methods: We conducted a short survey among the membership of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association (SCAA), a national survivors and advocacy organization. Only SCA victims received the survey which was conducted anonymously.
Results: Surveys were returned from 154 cardiac arrest survivors, with a mean age of 56±12. Men represented 65% of respondents and the majority was Caucasian (95%). When queried regarding what SCA victims were “most fearful” of doing, the most common response was concern for exercise (23%), and 19% of respondents commented on coordination difficulties. When queried regarding what was the “most annoying” comment received during recovery, the most common concern was mislabeling cardiac arrest as a “heart attack“ (27% of respondents). A majority (55%) of respondents commented on loss of memory abilities since their SCA event. Regarding future SCA preparedness, only 7% of respondents stated that they had an automatic external defibrillator (AED) in their home currently, and 35% commented that their workplace currently has an AED.
Conclusions: Functional long term survivors of cardiac arrest describe persistent disabilities, including problems with memory and coordination. Despite having suffered SCA, AED penetration in the environment of the survivors is low.