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Sudden cardiac arrest in patients with schizophrenia: A population-based study of resuscitation outcomes and pre-existing cardiovascular disease



Individuals with schizophrenia carry a high burden of cardiovascular disease and elevated rates of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), but little published data is available regarding survival from SCA in this population. The authors compared cardiovascular disease burden and resuscitation outcomes following SCA in individuals with and without schizophrenia.


Case-control analysis drawn from a prospective community-based study of SCA in a large community. The authors defined cases as having a pre-SCA history of schizophrenia, and controls as individuals with SCA without a history of schizophrenia. SCA cases with schizophrenia were compared to a 1:5 age- and sex-frequency-matched sample of SCA cases without schizophrenia.


The 103 SCA schizophrenia cases were as likely as the 515 cases without schizophrenia to have resuscitation attempted (75% vs. 80%; p = 0.24) and had a shorter 911 call mean response time (5.8 min vs. 6.9 min, p < 0.001). However, they were significantly less likely to present with a shockable rhythm (ventricular fibrillation/pulseless ventricular tachycardia 16% vs. 43%, p < 0.001), and less likely to survive to hospital discharge (3% vs. 14%, p = 0.008). Pre-arrest cardiovascular disease burden was similar in patients with and without schizophrenia.


Despite comparable resuscitation characteristics and cardiovascular disease burden, patients with schizophrenia had significantly lower rates of SCA survival. The paucity of previous research into this phenomenon warrants further investigation to identify factors that may improve survival.

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