Late heartbeat-evoked potentials are associated with survival after cardiac arrest

André Schulz*, Pascal Stammet, Angelika M. Dierolf, Claus Vögele, Stefan Beyenburg, Christophe Werer, Yvan Devaux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Cardiac arrest (CA) is a serious condition characterized by high mortality rates, even after initial successful resuscitation, mainly due to neurological damage. Whether brain-heart communication is associated with outcome after CA is unknown. Heartbeat-evoked brain potentials (HEPs) represent neurophysiological indicators of brain-heart communication. The aim of this study was to address the association between HEPs and survival after CA. Methods: HEPs were calculated from resting EEG/ECG in 55 CA patients 24 h after resuscitation. All patients were treated with targeted temperature management and a standardized sedation protocol during assessment. We investigated the association between HEP amplitude (180–320 ms, 455–595 ms, 860–1000 ms) and 6-month survival. Results: Twenty-five of 55 patients (45%) were still alive at 6-month follow-up. Survivors showed a higher HEP amplitude at frontopolar and frontal electrodes in the late HEP interval than non-survivors. This effect remained significant after controlling for between-group differences in terms of age, Fentanyl dose, and time lag between resuscitation and EEG assessment. There were no group differences in heart rate or heart rate variability. Conclusion: Brain-heart communication, as reflected by HEPs, is associated with survival after CA. Future studies should address the brain-heart axis in CA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Brain-heart interaction
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Interoception
  • Neurological outcome
  • Prognostication
  • Sedation
  • Targeted temperature management
  • Visceral-afferent signals


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