Are do-not-resuscitate orders associated with limitations of care beyond their intended purpose in patients with acute intracerebral haemorrhage? Analysis of the ABC-ICH study

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Implementation of an acute bundle of care for intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) was associated with a marked improvement in survival at our centre, mediated by a reduction in early (<24 hours) do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. The aim of this study was to identify possible mechanisms for this mediation. We retrospectively extracted additional data on resuscitation attempts and supportive care. This observational study utilised existing data collected for the Acute Bundle of Care for ICH (ABC-ICH) quality improvement project between from 2013 to 2017. The primary outcome was whether a patient received an early (<24 hours) DNR order. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the adjusted association between clinically meaningful factors, including an indicator for a change in treatment on the introduction of the ABC care bundle. Early DNR orders were associated with a reduced odds of escalation to critical care (OR: 0.07, 95% CI: 0.03 to 0.17, p<0.001). Commencement of palliative care within 72 hours was far more likely (OR: 8.76, 95% CI: 4.74 to 16.61, p<0.001) if an early DNR was in place. The cardiac arrest team were not called for an ICH patient before implementation but were called on five occasions overall during and after implementation. Further qualitative evaluation revealed that on only one occasion was there a cardiac or respiratory arrest with cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed. We found no significant increase in resuscitation attempts after bundle implementation but early DNR orders were associated with less admission to critical care and more early palliation. Early DNR orders are associated with less aggressive supportive care and should be judiciously used in acute ICH.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001113
JournalBMJ Open Quality
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2021