Cardiac arrest patients who have had so-called near-death experiences tend to have higher levels of carbon dioxide in their body, causing a possible trick of the mind triggered by a chemical reaction in the body, researchers have claimed.
Those who have been through the experience say they have felt like their lives “have flashed before their eyes” or have had acute sensations of joy or peace, as well as apparent supernatural encounters.
Scientists in Slovenia gave questionnaires to 52 people who have suffered cardiac arrest to ascertain whether they had any near-death experience, and looked at other information such as the amount of carbon dioxide in each patient - 11 of them reported having such visions or sensations.
The findings of the research, published in the online Critical Care journal, suggested that those with the most carbon dioxide in their arteries and breath were the ones who claimed to have had the hallucinations.
The report said: “As much as one fifth of out of hospital cardiac arrest patients report NDEs during cardiac arrest. Higher initial petCO2 and higher arterial blood pCO2 proved to be important in the provoking of NDEs. Higher serum levels of K (potassium) might also be important.”