Post-Cardiac Arrest Service (PCAS)

Post-Cardiac Arrest Service (PCAS)

We study the resuscitation and management of patients who survive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A variety of physiological changes occur after cardiac arrest. Individual patients can experience none, some or all of these changes. Mortality is most often related to brain injury or multiple organ failure.

Pitt EM Researchers Helping Cardiac Arrest Survivors

Over 300,000 Americans have their hearts stop yearly. Nationally, less than 10% survive and of those who do, there seems to be a large burden of depression and anxiety. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival (CCAS) are hoping to assess this mental health burden and are reaching out to the community to help.

As part of a Pitt research project, CCAS faculty member, Dr. Ankur Doshi , is providing home-based CPR training kits to cardiac arrest survivors hoping to affect the rates of depression and anxiety. The Center is spearheading a crowdfunding campaign through the University of Pittsburgh to raise money for these kits.

Projects like this are increasingly reliant on people like you. The CCAS researchers want you to join life-saving work by donating to this campaign. Please go to the Cardiac Arrest Survivors Support website at to donate and/or learn more!

Current Studies

PCAS recruits subjects for observational studies and trials during their clinical care.

ICECAP: A SIREN trial comparing effects of different durations of induced hypothermia on clinical outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.     

PRECICECAP:  A study of ICECAP participants, collecting detailed and high-resolution physiology, EEG and other monitoring data.  This study will explore if different patients have differential response to therapy.  


Feasibility and yield of nanopore sequencing: Comparing microbial DNA in samples from the airway of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to usual clinical criteria for diagnosing pneumonia.


Previous Studies

Studies about systems for post-cardiac arrest care

Rittenberger JC, Guyette FX, Tisherman SA, DeVita MA, Alvarez RJ, Callaway CW. Outcomes of a hospital-wide plan to improve care of comatose survivors of cardiac arrest. Resuscitation. 2008; 79: 198-204.

Donnino MW, Rittenberger JC, Gaieski D, Cocchi MN, Giberson
B, Peberdy MA, Abella BS, Bobrow BJ, Callaway C. The development and implementation of cardiac
arrest centers. Resuscitation. 2011 Mar
29. [Epub ahead of print]

Martin-Gill C, Dilger CP, Guyette FX, Rittenberger JC,
Callaway CW. Regional Impact of Cardiac
Arrest Center Criteria on Out-of-Hospital Transportation Practices. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2011; 15: 381-387.

Studies about post-cardiac arrest illness

Suffoletto B, Kristan J, Rittenberger JC, Guyette F, Hostler D, Menegazzi J, Callaway C. Near-infrared spectroscopy in post-cardiac arrest patients undergoing therapeutic hypothermia. Resuscitation 2012; 83(8): 986-90.

Huynh N, Kloke J, Gu C, Callaway CW, Guyette FX, Alvarez RJ, Tisherman SA, Rittenberger JC. The effect of hypothermia 'dose' on vasopressor requirements and outcome after cardiac arrest. Resuscitation 2013; 84(2): 189-93.

Reynolds JC, Callaway CW, El Khoudary SR, Moore CG, Alvarez
RJ, Rittenberger JC. Coronary angiography predicts improved outcome following
cardiac arrest: propensity-adjusted analysis.
J Intensive Care Med. 2009; 24: 179-178

Rittenberger JC, Raina K, Holm MB, Kim YJ, Callaway CW. Association
between Cerebral Performance Category, Modified Rankin Scale, and discharge
disposition after cardiac arrest. Resuscitation.
2011 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Raina KD, Callaway C, Rittenberger JC, Holm MB. Neurological and functional status following
cardiac arrest: method and tool utility.
Resuscitation. 2008; 79: 249-256.

Studies about neurological recovery

Rittenberger JC, Popescu A, Brenner RP, Guyette FX, Callaway
CW. Frequency and Timing of
Nonconvulsive Status Epilepticus in Comatose Post-Cardiac Arrest Subjects
Treated with Hypothermia. Neurocrit
Care. 2011 Jun 3. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:

Metter RB, Rittenberger JC, Guyette FX, Callaway CW. Association
between a quantitative CT scan measure of brain edema and outcome after cardiac
arrest. Resuscitation. 2011 Apr 12. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21592642

Rittenberger JC, Sangl J, Wheeler M, Guyette FX, Callaway
CW. Association between clinical
examination and outcome after cardiac arrest.
Resuscitation. 2010; 81: 1128-1132.

Neuroimaging of Comatose Post-Arrest Patients is an
observational study to collect specialized MRI studies in patients with
persistent coma at early time points after cardiac arrest.