More than 356 000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States annually. Complications involving post–cardiac arrest syndrome occur because of ischemic-reperfusion injury to the brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys. Post–cardiac arrest syndrome is a clinical state that involves global brain injury, myocardial dysfunction, macrocirculatory dysfunction, increased vulnerability to infection, and persistent precipitating pathology (ie, the cause of the arrest). The severity of outcomes varies and depends on precipitating factors, patient health before cardiac arrest, duration of time to return of spontaneous circulation, and underlying comorbidities. In this article, the pathophysiology and treatment of post–cardiac arrest syndrome are reviewed and potential novel therapies are described.

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