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Early and late do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions in patients with terminal COPD: a retrospective study in the last year of life

Authors Fu PK, Tung YC, Wang CY, Hwang SF, Lin SP, Hsu CY, Chen DR

Received 5 April 2018

Accepted for publication 21 June 2018

Published 14 August 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2447—2454


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Chunxue Bai

Pin-Kuei Fu,1–4 Yu-Chi Tung,1 Chen-Yu Wang,2 Sheau-Feng Hwang,5,6 Shin-Pin Lin,7 Chiann-Yi Hsu,8 Duan-Rung Chen9

1Institute of Health Policy and Management, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; 2Department of Critical Care Medicine, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 3Department of Biotechnology, Hungkuang University, Taichung, Taiwan; 4School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan; 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 6Palliative Care Unit, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 7Computer and Communications Center, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 8Biostatistics Task Force, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan; 9Institute of Health Behaviors and Community Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Purpose: The unpredictable trajectory of COPD can present challenges for patients when faced with a decision regarding a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) directive. The current retrospective analysis was conducted to investigate factors associated with an early DNR decision (prior to last hospital admission) and differences in care patterns between patients who made DNR directives early vs late.
Patients and methods: Electronic health records (EHR) were reviewed from 271 patients with terminal COPD who died in a teaching hospital in Taiwan. Clinical parameters, patterns of DNR decisions, and medical utilization were obtained. Those patients who had a DNR directive earlier than their last (terminal) admission were defined as “Early DNR” (EDNR).
Results: A total of 234 (86.3%) patients died with a DNR directive, however only 30% were EDNR. EDNR was associated with increased age (OR=1.07; 95% CI: 1.02–1.12), increased ER visits (OR=1.22; 95% CI: 1.10–1.37), rapid decline in lung function (OR=3.42; 95% CI: 1.12–10.48), resting heart rate ≥100 (OR=3.02; 95% CI: 1.07–8.51), and right-sided heart failure (OR=2.38; 95% CI: 1.10–5.19). The median time period from a DNR directive to death was 68.5 days in EDNR patients and 5 days in “Late DNR” (LDNR) patients, respectively (P<0.001). EDNR patients died less frequently in the intensive care unit (P<0.001), received less frequent mechanical ventilation (MV; P<0.001), more frequent non-invasive MV (P=0.006), and had a shorter length of hospital stay (P=0.001).
Conclusions: Most patients with terminal COPD had DNR directives, however only 30% of DNR decisions were made prior to their last (terminal) hospital admission. Further research using these predictive factors obtained from EHR systems is warranted in order to better understand the relationship between the timing associated with DNR directive decision making in patients with terminal COPD.

Keywords: do-not-resuscitate, electronic health record, medical utilization, share decision making

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