Causes of cardiopulmonary arrest, resuscitation management, and functional outcome in dogs and cats surviving cardiopulmonary arrest


  • *Dr. Swanke's current address is: Oradell Animal Hospital, 481 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649, USA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Rozanski, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536, USA.


Objective: To describe the functional outcome of canine and feline survivors of cardiopulmonary arrest (CPA) and the clinical characteristics surrounding their resuscitation.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Veterinary teaching hospital.

Animals: Client-owned dogs (15) and cats (3) with CPA.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Eighteen animals were identified to have survived to discharge following CPA. Cardiopulmonary arrest was associated with anesthesia with or without pre-existing disease in 10 animals, cardiovascular collapse in 5 animals, and chronic disease with an imposed stress in 3 animals. All CPAs were witnessed in the hospital. The most common initial rhythm at CPA was asystole (72%). Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) was achieved in less than 15 minutes from the onset of cardiopulmonary cerebral resuscitation (CPCR) in all animals. No animals had a recurrence of CPA after the initial CPA. Animals were of a wide range of ages (0.5–16 years) and breeds. Two animals were neurologically abnormal at discharge, one of which was normal at 2 months following CPA.

Conclusions: A good functional recovery after CPCR was documented in the small number of CPA survivors presented in this study. This may be due to the reversible nature of their inciting cause of CPA, early detections of CPA (‘witnessed’), and/or the animal's underlying normal health status.