+1 Recommend
1 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

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

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.



          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).


          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).


          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.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 28

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          A controlled trial to improve care for seriously ill hospitalized patients. The study to understand prognoses and preferences for outcomes and risks of treatments (SUPPORT). The SUPPORT Principal Investigators.

          To improve end-of-life decision making and reduce the frequency of a mechanically supported, painful, and prolonged process of dying. A 2-year prospective observational study (phase I) with 4301 patients followed by a 2-year controlled clinical trial (phase II) with 4804 patients and their physicians randomized by specialty group to the intervention group (n = 2652) or control group (n = 2152). Five teaching hospitals in the United States. A total of 9105 adults hospitalized with one or more of nine life-threatening diagnoses; an overall 6-month mortality rate of 47%. Physicians in the intervention group received estimates of the likelihood of 6-month survival for every day up to 6 months, outcomes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and functional disability at 2 months. A specifically trained nurse had multiple contacts with the patient, family, physician, and hospital staff to elicit preferences, improve understanding of outcomes, encourage attention to pain control, and facilitate advance care planning and patient-physician communication. The phase I observation documented shortcomings in communication, frequency of aggressive treatment, and the characteristics of hospital death: only 47% of physicians knew when their patients preferred to avoid CPR: 46% of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders were written within 2 days of death; 38% of patients who died spent at least 10 days in an intensive care unit (ICU); and for 50% of conscious patients who died in the hospital, family members reported moderate to severe pain at least half the time. During the phase II intervention, patients experienced no improvement in patient-physician communication (eg, 37% of control patients and 40% of intervention patients discussed CPR preferences) or in the five targeted outcomes, ie, incidence or timing of written DNR orders (adjusted ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 1.15), physicians' knowledge of their patients' preferences not to be resuscitated (adjusted ratio, 1.22; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.49), number of days spent in an ICU, receiving mechanical ventilation, or comatose before death (adjusted ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87 to 1.07), or level of reported pain (adjusted ratio, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.33). The intervention also did not reduce use of hospital resources (adjusted ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.12). The phase I observation of SUPPORT confirmed substantial shortcomings in care for seriously ill hospitalized adults. The phase II intervention failed to improve care or patient outcomes. Enhancing opportunities for more patient-physician communication, although advocated as the major method for improving patient outcomes, may be inadequate to change established practices. To improve the experience of seriously ill and dying patients, greater individual and societal commitment and more proactive and forceful measured may be needed.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Prognostic factors in COPD patients receiving long-term oxygen therapy. Importance of pulmonary artery pressure.

            Prognostic factors in COPD patients receiving long-term oxygen (LTO) therapy were recently analyzed, but very few studies considered the prognostic value of pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) in these patients. We investigated 84 patients who had undergone a right heart catheterization just before the onset of LTO. There were 75 men and 9 women, with a mean age of 63.0 +/- 9.9 (SD) years, at the onset of LTO. When PaO2 was persistently less than 55 mm Hg, LTO was initiated. This therapy was started in some patients with PaO2 in the range of 55 to 60 mm Hg if they had signs of cor pulmonale or a resting PAP of 25 mm Hg or greater at right heart catheterization. The daily duration of LTO was 16 h/d or more. Oxygen flow was adapted to achieve a PaO2 of 65 mm Hg or more. The patients were subdivided into subgroups according to the median value of age (cutoff value = 63 years); vital capacity (2,250 mL); FEV1 (800 mL); residual volume-total lung capacity ratio (58%); PaO2 value (52 mm Hg), PaCO2 level (45 mm Hg); and PAP (25 mm Hg). The cumulative 5-year survival rate was 48% for the group as a whole. Actuarial survival curves were plotted for the two subgroups of patients subdivided according to the initial median value of the variables just listed. There was no significant difference in survival rate between subgroups except when taking into account the level of PAP and age. In patients with an initial PAP of 25 mm Hg or less (n = 44), the 5-year survival was of 62.2 vs 36.3% in the remainder (n = 40) [p < 0.001]. We performed a multivariate analysis of survival using Cox's model of the proportional hazards regression including sex and the variables with the same categorization in the stepwise procedure: PAP and age were the only variables included in the final model. We conclude that the best prognostic factor in COPD patients receiving LTO is not the FEV1, nor the degree of hypoxemia or hypercapnia, but the level of PAP.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Predictors of rehospitalization and death after a severe exacerbation of COPD.

              Patients who survive a severe exacerbation of COPD are at high risk of rehospitalization for COPD and death. The objective of this study was to determine predictors of these events in a large cohort of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients. We identified 51,353 patients who were discharged after an exacerbation of COPD in the VA health-care system from 1999 to 2003, and determined the rates of rehospitalization for COPD and death from all causes. Potential risk factors were assessed with univariate and multivariate survival analysis. On average, the cohort was elderly (mean age, 69 years), predominately white (78% white, 13% black, 3% other, and 6% unknown), and male (97%), consistent with the underlying VA population. The risk of death was 21% at 1 year, and 55% at 5 years. Independent risk factors for death were age, male gender, prior hospitalizations, and comorbidities including weight loss and pulmonary hypertension; nonwhite race and other comorbidities (asthma, hypertension, and obesity) were associated with decreased mortality. The risk of rehospitalization for COPD was 25% at 1 year, and 44% at 5 years, and was increased by age, male gender, prior hospitalizations, and comorbidities including asthma and pulmonary hypertension. Hispanic ethnicity and other comorbidities (diabetes and hypertension) were associated with a decreased risk of rehospitalization. Age, male gender, prior hospitalizations, and certain comorbid conditions were risk factors for death and rehospitalization in patients discharged after a severe COPD exacerbation. Nonwhite race and other comorbidities were associated with decreased risk.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                14 August 2018
                : 13
                : 2447-2454
                [1 ]Institute of Health Policy and Management, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
                [2 ]Department of Critical Care Medicine, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
                [3 ]Department of Biotechnology, Hungkuang University, Taichung, Taiwan
                [4 ]School of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
                [5 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
                [6 ]Palliative Care Unit, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
                [7 ]Computer and Communications Center, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
                [8 ]Biostatistics Task Force, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
                [9 ]Institute of Health Behaviors and Community Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, duan@
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Duan-Rung Chen, Institute of Health Behaviors and Community Sciences, National Taiwan University, No 17, Xu-Zhou Road, Taipei 10055, Taiwan, Tel +886 23 366 8066, Fax +886 22 391 1308, Email duan@
                © 2018 Fu et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                Comment on this article