The clinical practice of resuscitation science is dependent on discoveries generated in the basic science and animal laboratory and then translated into clinical trials for application in humans. The successful implementation of prospective, randomized, controlled, clinical trials in the field of cardiac arrest remains challenging and continues to evolve. Funding for clinical trials of cardiac arrest is limited, and there are significant obstacles to performing such studies because of the inability to obtain informed consent under these emergency circumstances. The absence of reliable national statistics on cardiac arrest, evaluation of neurological outcome, and potential confounders such as post-resuscitation hospital-based care and quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) continue to challenge cardiac arrest clinical trials. Nonetheless, the immense public health burden of cardiac arrest is being recognized, appropriate public health initiatives to address the problem are being implemented, and the resuscitation research community is meeting this challenge.
Keywords: resuscitation, clinical trials, funding, informed consent, neurological and functional assessments, standards