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November 14, 1994

Predictors of Survival Following In-Hospital Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Moving Target

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville.

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(21):2426-2432. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420210060007

Background:  Counseling patients about the risks and benefits of in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can potentially reduce patient suffering and hospital costs. However, there is currently much disagreement regarding the overall rate of in-hospital CPR survival and characteristics that identify patients more or less likely to survive CPR.

Methods:  The charts of all adults who were pulseless and received basic CPR at a 720-bed university hospital during 1990 and 1991 were reviewed. Patients were excluded if cardiac arrest occurred outside the hospital or in the emergency department, operating room, recovery room, or cardiac catheterization laboratory. Each patient's chart was reviewed to determine the presence of explicitly defined clinical characteristics.

Results:  Overall, 50 (16.0%) of 313 patients survived to discharge. Before arrest, only impaired functional capacity and sepsis identified patients unlikely to survive CPR. Of adults suffering cardiac arrest during the study period, only 22% underwent CPR, including 13.0% of those with cancer and 18.1% of those 70 years or older.

Conclusions:  The use of do-not-resuscitate orders to exclude patients who were inappropriate candidates for CPR may explain why the survival rate reported here is higher than similar reports and why more clinical characteristics were not found to predict CPR survival. Investigators of inhospital CPR should use explicit criteria to describe the conditions studied and report survival for patients who receive basic CPR. The impact of do-not-resuscitate orders on survival rates must be considered. Functional capacity deserves further investigation as a predictor of CPR survival.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:2426-2432)

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