Abstract 274: Drugs and Cardiac Arrest: Suffocate the Brain, Spare the Body?

Anezi Uzendu, Mark McIntyre, Habeeb Suara, Alisha Alabre, Emmanuel Boateng, Lawrence Charles, Edvard Gumbs, Patrick Ruz, Uzoma Anaba, Rebecca Carter, Henry Okafor, Cameron Dezfulian, Avirup Guha, Daniel Addison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nearly 70,000 people die of a drug overdose every year. Yet, how drug induced cardiac arrests differ from presumed cardiac etiology cardiac arrests is not well described. In animal models, asphyxial arrests resemble drug induced arrests, demonstrating better hemodynamic profiles yet worse neurologic recovery. Theoretically, this is caused by hypoxemic but preserved perfusion prior to ultimate arrest. But, this has not been studied in humans. We hypothesize that drug induced cardiac arrests will have higher incidence of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) in all comers, yet worse neurologic recovery among hospitalized patients. Methods: From a large institutional dataset capturing all patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrests admitted from 2011 to 2019, we assess the prevalence and outcomes of cardiac arrests, by drug-use status. Patients were excluded if the arrest was trauma induced, occurred in an extended care facility/nursing home, or if treatment was initiated at another medical center. The primary outcome was ROSC in all comers, and the secondary outcome was favorable neurologic function among those surviving to admission. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with differences in outcomes, accounting for traditional cardiac risk factors and arrest characteristics. Results: In total, 436 patients (57±10 years, 31.7% female, 58.5% non-white, 49.3% hypertensive, 28.4% diabetics, and 21.1% preceding coronary disease) were identified, including 94 (21.6%) with drug induced cardiac arrest. Of that total group 101 (23.2%) survived, to admission, 26.6% of the drug induced group and 22.2% of the presumed cardiac cohort, demonstrating no difference in ROSC (P=0.32). Among those that survived to admission, 8% (2/25) of the drug induced group had a favorable neurologic outcome, compared to 29.0% (22/76) of the cardiac induced group (P= 0.03). Following adjustment, the presence of presenting drug induced cardiac arrest remained associated with lower rates of neurologic recovery [OR 7.3 (1.03-51.6) P= 0.04]. There was no difference in survival to discharge. Conclusion: Drug induced cardiac arrest is associated with worse neurologic outcomes than presumed cardiac etiology cardiac arrests.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue numberSuppl_4
StatePublished - Nov 17 2020


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