Cardiac arrest is the most common cause of death in North America, resulting in approximately 300,000 deaths each year. In the Pittsburgh region alone, approximately 1000 patients experience cardiac arrest annually. The Post Cardiac Arrest Service (PCAS) at UPMC Presbyterian is dedicated to providing specialized care to these patients and to study the resuscitation and management of patients who survive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Our physicians help coordinate the care of prehospital, emergency department, intensive care unit, cardiology, neurology, and rehabilitation providers, to ensure a unique continuity of care to the patient and their families.
A variety of physiological changes occur after cardiac arrest. Individual patients can experience none, some, or all of these changes. Mortality most often relates to brain injury or multiple organ failure. Aggressive neurocritical care, including the use of therapeutic hypothermia, usually begins during transport to UPMC-Presbyterian. Advanced neuroimaging and continuous electroencephalography help to guide the neurocritical care of these patients. An aggressive team approach involving cardiologists, neurologists, critical care intensivists, and rehabilitation specialists ensure the unique needs of this population are met.
Clinical rotations for medical students and senior residents provide intensive training on post-arrest physiology and the spectrum of care for the cardiac arrest patients. Investigative interests include: neuroprognostication, optimal duration of and temperature for therapeutic hypothermia, seizure prevention, inflammatory effects of therapeutic hypothermia, and mitochondrial injury during the post-arrest phase.
Started in 2007 and based at UPMC-Presbyterian, this service grows each year. In 2010, PCAS consulted on 159 patients of whom 40% were discharged from the hospital.
For more information about cardiac arrest or post cardiac arrest care you may contact the Post Cardiac Arrest Service physician at UPMC Presbyterian through UPMC MedCall at 412-647-7000 or 1-800-544-2500
If you are a health care provider and want follow up on a Post Cardiac Arrest Service patient please call Patrick at 412-864-1120 or email at email@example.com.