How Should Physicians Manage Neuroprognosis with ECPR?

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Rapidly advancing technologies in the field of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) have presented a new challenge in accurate neuroprognostication following cardiac arrest. Determination of brain state informs the prognostic picture and allows providers to begin effective communication regarding likelihood of meaningful neurological recovery as defined by patients or family members. The evolving role of sedation during ECPR and its impacts on ethical tension in decision-making is reviewed. Work surrounding the advancing field of neuroprognostication after cardiac arrest and hypothermia is summarized and implications of premature withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments are discussed. Advances that improve predictive value for neurological recovery are utilized in affirming and discussing the implications for end-of-life wishes of individuals in the setting of intensive resuscitative therapies.

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