Long-term quality of life after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Harman Yonis, Kathrine Kold Sørensen, Henrik Bøggild, Kristian Bundgaard Ringgren, Carolina Malta Hansen, Christopher B. Granger, Fredrik Folke, Helle Collatz Christensen, Britta Jensen, Mikkel Porsborg Andersen, Vicky L. Joshi, Ann-Dorthe Zwisler, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Kristian Kragholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Allocating resources to increase survival after cardiac arrest requires survivors to have a good quality of life, but long-term data are lacking. 

Objective: To determine the quality of life of survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest from 2001 to 2019. 

Design, Setting, and Participants: This survey study used the EuroQol Health Questionnaire, 12-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess the health-related quality of life of all adult survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest included in the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry between June 1, 2001, and August 31, 2019, who were alive in October 2020 (follow-up periods, 0-1, >1-2, >2-4, >4-6, >6-8, >8-10, >10-15, and >15-20 years since arrest). The survey was conducted from October 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021. 

Exposure: All patients who experienced an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. 

Main Outcome and Measures: Self-reported health was measured using the EuroQol Health Questionnaire index (EQ index) score and EQ visual analog scale. Physical and mental health were measured using the SF-12, and anxiety and depression were measured using the HADS. Descriptive statistics were used for the analysis. 

Results: Of 4545 survivors, 2552 (56.1%) completed the survey, with a median follow-up since their event of 5.5 years (IQR, 2.9-8.9 years). Age was comparable between responders and nonresponders (median [IQR], 67 [58-74] years vs 68 [56-78] years), and 2075 responders (81.3%) were men and 477 (18.7%) women (vs 1473 male [73.9%] and 520 female [26.1%] nonresponders). For the shortest follow-up (0-1 year) and longest follow-up (>15-20 years) groups, the median EQ index score was 0.9 (IQR, 0.7-1.0) and 0.9 (0.8-1.0), respectively. For all responders, the mean (SD) SF-12 physical health score was 43.3 (12.3) and SF-12 mental health score, 52.9 (8.3). All 3 scores were comparable to a general Danish reference population. Based on HADS scores, a low risk for anxiety was reported by 73.0% (54 of 74) of 0- to 1-year survivors vs 89.3% (100 of 112) of greater than 15- to 20-year survivors; for symptoms of depression, these proportions were 79.7% (n = 59) and 87.5% (n = 98), respectively. Health-related quality of life was similar in survivor groups across all follow-up periods. 

Conclusions and Relevance: Among this survey study's responders, who comprised more than 50% of survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Denmark, long-term health-related quality of life up to 20 years after their event was consistently high and comparable to that of the general population. These findings support resource allocation and efforts targeted to increasing survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1030
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA cardiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2023


  • psychiatry and behavioural health
  • resuscitation
  • emergency medicine
  • cardiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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