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July 1992

Futile Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Author Affiliations

Chicago, Ill

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(7):1529. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400190145029

To the Editor. —  In regard to the article by Faber-Langendoen published in the February issue of the Archives, I want to underline her conclusion that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) of patients with metastatic cancer is futile.She did not mention one aspect of the outcome studies that she cited, and that aspect strengthens her conclusion. All of the hospitals had extensive use of do-not-resuscitate orders at the time in which the studies were performed. For example, Bedell et al1 noted that 70% of all hospital deaths occurred without CPR. In a similar study,2 Pentfield et al noted that 91% of all hospital deaths occurred without CPR. Presumably, those patients who did not have do-not-resuscitate orders would have the best chances of some benefit of CPR. This means that, even in a selected population, CPR of patients with metastatic cancer is futile.I want to wave Faber-Langendoen's article in the