Study Describes Long-Term Neuropsychological Outcomes Following Pediatric Cardiac Arrest

BALTIMORE, September 18, 2018 – A recent study led by Beth Slomine, Ph.D., ABBP, co-director of Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Brain Injury Recovery, examined the outcomes of children who survived cardiac arrest who had been enrolled in the Therapeutic Hypothermia After Pediatric Cardiac Arrest In-Hospital (THAPCA-IH) and Out-of-Hospital THAPCA-OH) trials. These two previously published (2015, 2017) international, multi-center trials found that long-term survival and neurobehavioral outcomes did not differ between groups in which fever was prevented by actively maintaining a normal temperature or in those who underwent body cooling.

The primary outcome data for these trials were collected centrally by telephone at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Surviving children also participated in neuropsychological evaluation at one of the 37 academic medical centers throughout North America where they were enrolled. Dr. Slomine oversaw collection of the data, which provides a unique opportunity to report on the largest dataset of neurobehavioral and neuropsychological outcomes after pediatric cardiac arrest.

The results, reported in JAMA Neurology, describe neuropsychological performance 12 months after cardiac arrest and explored the relationship between this performance and caregiver-reported measures of functioning that are used to identify favorable outcomes in the THAPCA trials. The study found significant neuropsychological impairments in many children classified as having favorable outcomes in the THAPCA-IH and THAPCA-OH Trials.

During cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping effectively, and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. In many cases, this can lead to death or long-term disability. Children who survive cardiac arrest are at risk for brain injury and resulting functional and neuropsychological impairment.

“The results of this secondary analysis of the THAPCA trials provide clinicians with a better understanding of the range of outcomes in children who survive cardiac arrest and offer researchers a better understanding of the relationship between distinct outcome assessment and methods used in clinical trials,” said Dr. Slomine. “More research is needed to better understand longer-term outcomes, especially in the youngest children who experience cardiac arrest.”

About Kennedy Krieger Institute:

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system, Kennedy Krieger Institute in the greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region serves 24,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services, and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental issues, from mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis.

About Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Brain Injury Recovery:

Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Brain Injury Recovery is one of the nation’s leading brain injury rehabilitation programs known for its pioneering, interdisciplinary, continuum of care model. Offering pediatric patients with brain injuries coordinated care across inpatient, intensive outpatient, clinic, home and community settings, the Center for Brain Injury Recovery has experts and specialists that assess and treat pediatric patients with brain injuries that range from mild concussions to very severe disorders of consciousness, such as comas