Brain Ischemia Often Overlooked in Cardiac Arrest Patients

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

recent study reminds us that cardiac arrest often causes ischemia in other areas of the body

A recent study from Lund University in Sweden and Skane University Hospital reminds us that cardiac arrest often causes ischemia in other areas of the body as well, namely the brain.1 When cardiac patients are treated as only cardiac patients, and other organ systems not addressed, it can lead to a lack of rehabilitation and difficulty returning to normal life. Research has found that many of these patients have suffered brain injuries connected with cardiac arrest that were never followed-up on.

This may Account for the Difficulty Many People Experience Returning to Work after a Cardiac Event

In 2016, 350,000 individuals experienced an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States (in Europe this number is the same). When the heart stops, blood stops being perfused to other tissues in the body. This is especially concerning for the brain. This may account for the difficulty many people experience returning to work after a cardiac event, due to cognitive problems such as memory loss, concentration difficulties, and depressed mood. Restricted mobility also affects many post-cardiac arrest patients.

Cognitive Symptoms Cited for Patients who Found it Difficult to Return to Normal Working Life Post Cardiac Arrest

The researchers at Lund University looked at cardiac arrest patient outcomes from 5 different countries: Sweden, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy. Almost half of patients found it difficult to return to normal working life, regardless of whether they were of working age or retired. The reasons cited were mostly cognitive symptoms such as difficulties concentrating or problem solving and memory loss.

Research Study Advocates that Cardiology Ward Doctors Look for Cognitive Deficits in These Patients

The research study advocates that doctors on cardiology wards look out for cognitive deficits in these patients. For the general practitioner, it may also be beneficial to consider brain injury in patients presenting after a cardiac arrest, considering this connection is often missed during the emergency management of the cardiac concern.

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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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