BACKGROUND:Data on long-term function of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors are sparse. We examined return to work as a proxy of preserved function without major neurologic deficits in survivors.METHODS AND RESULTS:In Denmark, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests have been systematically reported to the Danish Cardiac Arrest Register since 2001. During 2001-2011, we identified 4354 patients employed before arrest among 12 332 working-age patients (18-65 years), of whom 796 survived to day 30. Among 796 survivors (median age, 53 years [quartile 1-3, 46-59 years]; 81.5% men), 610 (76.6%) returned to work in a median time of 4 months [quartile 1-3, 1-19 months], with a median time of 3 years spent back at work. A total of 74.6% (N=455) remained employed without using sick leave during the first 6 months after returning to work. This latter proportion of survivors returning to work increased over time (66.1% in 2001-2005 versus 78.1% in 2006-2011; P=0.002). In multivariable Cox regression analysis, factors associated with return to work with ≥6 months of sustainable employment were as follows: (1) arrest during 2006-2011 versus 2001-2005, hazard ratio (HR), 1.38 (95% CI, 1.05-1.82); (2) male sex, HR, 1.48 (95% CI, 1.06-2.07); (3) age of 18 to 49 versus 50 to 65 years, HR, 1.32 (95% CI, 1.02-1.68); (4) bystander-witnessed arrest, HR, 1.79 (95% CI, 1.17-2.76); and (5) bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, HR, 1.38 (95% CI, 1.02-1.87).CONCLUSIONS:Of 30-day survivors employed before arrest, 76.6% returned to work. The percentage of survivors returning to work increased significantly, along with improved survival during 2001-2011, suggesting an increase in the proportion of survivors with preserved function over time.
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