RSNA: Brain imaging helps predict recovery in cardiac arrest patients

According to a RSNA press release, a recent study published in Radiology on Oct. 18 may be able to help predict long-term recovery of those who have suffered from cardiac arrest by analyzing neurological connections from MRI results.  

Many individuals who have suffered from this abrupt loss of heart function will more than likely endure neurological disabilities of one degree or another due to the lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain.  

"Current methods to predict future levels of function for these survivors have limited accuracy," said study lead author Robert D. Stevens, MD, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We need better methods to help clinicians understand the magnitude of these injuries and make more accurate predictions on recovery, thereby enabling more informed decision-making." 

Specifically, this study used advanced MRI techniques, such as "diffusion tensor imaging" and "resting-state functional MRI (fMRI)", to focus on the connectivity of the brain at a larger scale, according to the press release.  

Researchers assessed the neurological connectivity of 46 patients who suffered from cardiac arrest and, as a result, were induced in a coma. Brain scans of all 46 patients were conducted two weeks after they had suffered from cardiac arrest and focused on analyzing four specifics networks inside the brain.  

The results of the study indicate that connectivity measures could be early markers of long-term recovery potential in patients with cardiac arrest-related brain damage, researchers stated in the study. 

Cardiac arrest impacts and has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. According to the American Heart Association, every year over 350,000 emergency medical services-assessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. See the entire RSNA press release to learn more about the study, including methods and results.