Patients recall near-death experiences during CPR

New study show rhythmic brain waves suggestive of near-death experiences

Patients recall near-death experiences during CPR
© Getty/ Artecke
Patients recall near-death experiences during CPR

One in five people whose lives have been saved through resuscitation after their breathing or hearts ceased, report lucid experiences of death that occurred while they were unconscious, a new study shows. Though people have reported these experiences while on the brink of death, this is the first study to show that those experiences are not hallucinations.

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Lucid dying

Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and elsewhere, the study involved 567 men and women whose hearts stopped beating while hospitalized and who received CPR between 2017 and 2020 in the United States and the UK. Despite immediate treatment, fewer than 10 percent recovered sufficiently to be discharged from the hospital, according to News Week.

Survivors reported having unique lucid experiences, including a perception of separation from the body, observing events without pain or distress, and a meaningful evaluation of life, including of their actions, intentions, and thoughts toward others. The researchers found these experiences of death to be different from hallucinations, delusions, illusions, dreams, or CPR-induced consciousness. Lead study investigator, Sam Parnia, MD, PhD said:

Getty/ Kmatta
These recalled experiences and brain wave changes may be the first signs of the so-called near-death experience, and we have captured them for the first time in a large study

What this means

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2022 in Chicago last week. Researchers concluded that their findings suggest that the human sense of self and consciousness, much like other biological body functions, may not stop completely around the time of death. Dr Parnia added:

These lucid experiences cannot be considered a trick of a disordered or dying brain, but rather a unique human experience that emerges on the brink of death.

They are hoping these findings would prompt further research into recalled experience surrounding death.

Sources used:

News Week: Near-Death Experiences Cause Rare Out-Of-Body Phenomenon, New Study Finds

NYU Langone Health: Lucid Dying: Patients Recall Death Experiences During CPR

New study reveals near-death experiences are 'other dimensions of reality' New study reveals near-death experiences are 'other dimensions of reality'