Podcast 887: Family Presence in Cardiac Resuscitation - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 887: Family Presence in Cardiac Resuscitation

Contributor: Aaron Lessen MD

Educational Pearls:

  • A 2013 study randomized families of those in cardiac arrest into two groups:

    • Actively offered patients’ families the opportunity to observe CPR

    • Follow standard practice regarding family presence (control group)

  • Of the 266 relatives that received offers to observe CPR, 211 (79%) accepted vs. 43% in the control group observed CPR

  • The study assessed a primary end-point of PTSD-related symptoms 90 days after the event

    • Secondary end-points included depression, anxiety, medicolegal claims, medical efforts at resuscitation, and the well-being of the healthcare team

  • The frequency of PTSD-related symptoms was significantly higher in the control group

    • Lower rates of anxiety and depression for the families who witnessed CPR

  • There were no effects on resuscitation efforts, patient survival, medicolegal claims, or stress on the healthcare team

  • If families choose to witness CPR, it’s beneficial to have someone with the family to explain the process


1. Jabre P, Belpomme V, Azoulay E, et al. Family Presence during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(11):1008-1018. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1203366

Summarized by Jorge Chalit, OMSII | Edited by Jorge Chalit



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