Very little is known about the psychological consequences of a cardiac arrest (CA) during childhood. Our aim was to assess long-term emotional and behavioral functioning, and its predictors, in survivors of CA in childhood. This long-term follow-up study involved all consecutive infants, children, and adolescents surviving CA in a tertiary-care university children’s hospital between January 2002 and December 2011. Emotional and behavioral functioning was assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Teacher’s Report Form (TRF), and Youth Self-Report (YSR). Of the eligible 107 CA survivors, 52 patients, parents, and/or teachers filled out online questionnaires. Compared with normative data, parents and teachers reported significantly more attention and somatic problems (age range 6–18 years). Parents also reported more attention problems for age range 1.5–5 years. Twenty-eight percent of the children (n = 14) scored in the psychopathological range (i.e., for age range 1.5–18 years; p < 0.001) according to parent reports. Male gender, older age, and basic life support were significantly related to worse scores on the scales internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and total problems and subscale attention problems. Conclusion: Long-term deficits in attention and somatic complaints were reported. Attention problems after childhood CA can interfere with school performance. Long-term follow-up with neuropsychological assessment should be organized.(Table presented.)

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European Journal of Pediatrics
Department of Intensive Care

van Zellem, L., Utens, E., Madderom, M., Legerstee, J., Aarsen, F., Tibboel, D., & Buysse, C. (2016). Cardiac arrest in infants, children, and adolescents: long-term emotional and behavioral functioning. European Journal of Pediatrics, 175(7), 977–986. doi:10.1007/s00431-016-2728-4