Understanding and enhancing the assessment of neuropsychological and psychosocial function following out of hospital cardiac arrest (NorA)

Study team

Study summary

Outcomes from out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) are poor with high mortality. For those who survive, cognitive and functional impairment are areas of considerable concern. Consequently, research is shifting from survival alone to the identification and understanding of long-term brain injury, the corresponding cognitive decline and potential ways to reduce brain damage. As research continues to improve survival, it is especially important to focus on interventions that can enhance cognitive and psychosocial function; this will potentially enable meaningful recovery rather than simple improvements in mortality alone.

In order to understand what is meaningful for patients and families, in terms of cognitive and psychosocial function, we will interview survivors of out of hospital cardiac arrest and their families three and six months after the event. We will then use these findings to guide our investigation of which cognitive and neuropsychological outcome measures are most appropriate to assess future interventions designed to improve outcomes from OHCA.

This research combines existing expertise in cardiac arrest trials and the assessment of neuropsychological function to investigate more sensitive and efficient measures of executive function, attention and memory that can be used to assess cognitive deficits in OHCA survivors. The outputs will include a review and analysis of measures that have been used in prior research, an assessment of their suitability for studying cognitive function and an understanding of the themes relating to good quality cognitive and psychosocial function in survivors of out of hospital cardiac arrest. These themes will be used to inform further grant-funded research work to produce a set of measures that can be administered to assess cognitive and psychosocial function in survivors and utilised across trials of interventions that aim to improve outcomes for patients following OHCA