BackgroundDo-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders are commonly used after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and have been shown to be a predictor of mortality independent of disease severity. We determined the frequency of early DNR orders in ICH patients and whether a previously reported association with increased mortality still exists.
MethodsWe performed a retrospective analysis of patients discharged from non-federal California hospitals with a primary diagnosis of ICH from January 2013 through December 2014. Characteristics included hospital ICH volume and type and whether DNR order was placed within 24 h of admission (early DNR order). The risk of in-hospital mortality was evaluated both on the individual and hospital level using multivariable analyses. A case mix-adjusted hospital DNR index was calculated for each hospital by comparing the actual number of DNR cases with the expected number of DNR cases from a multivariate model.
ResultsA total of 9,958 patients were treated in 180 hospitals. Early DNR orders were placed in 20.1% of patients and 54.2% of these patients died during their hospitalization compared to 16.0% of patients without an early DNR order. For every 10% increase in a hospital's utilization of early DNR orders, there was a corresponding 26% increase in the likelihood of in-hospital mortality. Patients treated in hospitals within the highest quartile of adjusted DNR use had a higher relative risk of death compared to the lowest quartile (RR 3.9 vs 5.2) though the trend across quartiles was not statistically significant.
ConclusionsThe use of early DNR orders for ICH continues to be a strong predictor of in-hospital mortality. However, patients treated at hospitals with an overall high or low use of early DNR had similar relative risks of death whether or not there was an early DNR order, suggesting that such orders may not be a proxy for less aggressive care as seen previously.