Which testing is needed in a patient after out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest?

Bernd W. Böttiger

Bernd W. Böttiger, MD, is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the University of Cologne, Germany.

Which diagnostic testing should be performed in a patient after out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) if the patient’s history is unknown or noncontributory?

In adults after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, you should be investigating whether the underlying cause of deterioration is an acute myocardial infarction or not.

So in adults, diagnostic testing that is immediately urgently needed is electrocardiography (ECG) and maybe also troponins. And we also recommend cranial computed tomography (CT) for differential diagnosis. But the most important thing is an electrocardiogram to see whether an acute myocardial infarction is the cause of the underlying disease, which then needs an immediate intervention in the cath lab.

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