Neurocognitive function following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A systematic review

Nancy Zook, Sarah Voss, Erik Blennow Nordström, Stephen J. Brett, Elizabeth Jenkinson, Pauline Shaw, Paul White, Jonathan Benger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives: The primary aim of this review was to investigate neurocognitive outcomes following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Specifically, the focus was on identifying the different neurocognitive domains that are assessed, the measures used, and the level of, and criteria for, impairment. Design and review methods: A systematic review of the literature from 2006 to 2021 was completed using Medline, Cinahl and Psychinfo. Criteria for inclusion were studies with participants over the age of 18, OHCA and at least one neurocognitive function measure. Qualitative and case studies were excluded. Reviewers assessed criteria and risk of bias using a modified version of Downs and Black. Results: Forty-three studies were identified. Most studies had a low risk of bias (n = 31) or moderate risk of bias (n = 11) and one had a high risk; however, only six reported effect sizes or power analyses. Multiple measures of neurocognitive outcomes were used (>50) and level of impairment criteria varied considerably. Memory impairments were frequently found and were also more likely to be impaired followed by executive function and processing speed. Discussion: This review highlights the heterogeneity of measures and approaches used to assess neurocognitive outcomes following OHCA as well as the need to improve risk of bias concerning generalizability. Improved understanding of the approaches used for assessment and the subsequent findings will facilitate a standardized evaluation of neurocognitive outcomes following OHCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


  • Executive functions
  • Memory
  • Neurocognitive outcomes
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest


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