Exploring Long-Term Quality of Life & the Experience of Death After Cardiac Arrest
Since the discovery of modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), many millions of people from all over the world have been successfully resuscitated after a cardiac arrest, and many patients ranging from small children to adults have reported a universal and unique set of cognitive experiences and awareness during cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Since cardiac arrest is biologically synonymous with death by cardiopulmonary criteria, this has led to significant interest in the experiences associated with cardiac arrest, as a marker of the experience of death.
We are interested in learning about surviving patients’ experiences of death not only for its wide ranging interest and application to society in general, but also for what it can tell us about how we can improve resuscitation efforts and critical care. Our research teams are on the cutting edge of this interdisciplinary field, leading studies that explore the brain and the mind in entirely new ways.
In tandem with our AWAreness during REsuscitation (AWARE II) study, we plan to interview survivors to investigate the psychological consequences of cardiac arrest, both positive and negative. We will then use qualitative and quantitative methods to better clarify the nature of what they experienced as well as better understand the themes of experience after cardiac arrest.
By improving our understanding of these psychological outcomes, we aim to improve the psychological care of survivors and set a new standard of care that can be applied by critical care teams across the world. We also hope to get a robust picture of the human experience of death and what it means to survive, something that has never been done before.