People feel death on the ‘threshold of death’ after cardiac arrest: Dong-A Science

New York University Grossman School of Medicine research team

A team of researchers at the Grossman Medical School in New York, USA, published the results of a study which showed that patients who survived a heart attack after receiving CPR showed unique EEG changes. Courtesy of Getty Image Bank

Some of the patients who survived a heart attack after receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were aware of the ‘near-death experience,’ a new study has found. Academics have described this experience as ‘lucid dying’, which means that someone recognizes death alone.

A research team at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine reported that 10% of 567 men and women who received CPR between 2017 and 2020 were treated and released safely. The research results were presented at the ‘2022 Scientific Session’ held by the American Heart Association in Chicago, USA on the 6th (local time).

About 20% of the study subjects reported unique experiences while receiving CPR, including a perception of being separated from the body, pain, and deep thoughts about life. “These experiences appeared to be a different type of conscious state of consciousness than hallucinations, delusions, phantasies and dreams,” explained the research team.

The research team also observed how the subjects’ brain waves changed when they received CPR. For about an hour after CPR, the brain wave types, alpha, beta, theta, delta, and gamma occurred. Alpha waves appear in a relaxed state, and beta waves appear in a normal state. Theta waves appear mainly during sleep, while delta waves are characteristic of unconsciousness. Gamma waves are brain waves in a highly excited state.

The research team said that in this study, the experiment was only conducted on inpatients from 25 hospitals in the United States and the United Kingdom to match the environment in which the patients’ brain activity was recorded. He added that the evidence of 126 patients who survived after receiving CPR after a heart attack was also being reviewed.

Sam Pania, principal investigator at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, who took part in the study, said, “These memories and brain wave changes may be the first signs of a ‘near death’ experience like it’s called,” he explained. “These findings are evidence that people experience a unique inner awareness when they are on the brink of death, such as a coma.”

“The altered state of consciousness in the face of death deserves more impartial empirical investigation,” he said. Further research is needed for this,” he added.

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