Recognizing Preterminal Signs

  • Martin W. Dünser
  • Daniel Dankl
  • Sirak Petros
  • Mervyn MerEmail author


Once cardiac arrest has occurred, the chances for neurologically intact recovery dramatically decline. While some types of cardiac arrest, mostly those of arrhythmogenic origin, can hardly be foreseen, the majority of cardiac arrests are preceded by clinical signs indicating the nearing cardiovascular collapse. In most patients, cardiac arrest is the final pathway of a gradual progression of symptoms. There are no clear cut-off values of such preterminal signs but rather an insidious trend of symptoms. It is essential to recognize these clinical signs as all of them must be addressed timely and adequately. A summary of clinical signs commonly preceding cardiac arrest is shown in Table 4.1.


  1. 1.
    Brunauer A, Koköfer A, Bataar O et al (2014) The arterial blood pressure associated with terminal cardiovascular collapse in critically ill patients: a retrospective cohort study. Crit Care 18:719CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin W. Dünser
    • 1
  • Daniel Dankl
    • 2
  • Sirak Petros
    • 3
  • Mervyn Mer
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineKepler University Hospital, Johannes Kepler University LinzLinzAustria
  2. 2.Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative Medicine and General Intensive CareSalzburg University Hospital and Paracelsus Private Medical UniversitySalzburgAustria
  3. 3.Medical Intensive Care Unit and Centre of Haemostaseology, University Hospital LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  4. 4.Divisions of Critical Care and Pulmonology, Department of MedicineCharlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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