Is prolonged mechanical ventilation of cancer patients futile?

Link to article at PubMed

Is prolonged mechanical ventilation of cancer patients futile?

Crit Care. 2013 Sep 20;17(5):189

Authors: Toffart AC, Timsit JF

The issue of limiting life-sustaining treatments for intensive care unit (ICU) patients is complex. The ethical principles applied by ICU staff when making treatment-limitation decisions must comply with the law of their country. Until 2011, the law in Taiwan prohibited the withdrawal of mechanical ventilation. Consequently, patients with severe underlying diseases could receive prolonged mechanical ventilation. In a study conducted by Shih and colleagues in patients with cancer in Taiwan, continuous mechanical ventilation for more than 21 days was associated with poor outcomes, particularly in the subgroups of patients with metastases, lung cancer, or liver cancer. These results highlight the need for appropriate legislation regarding the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments in patients, especially those for whom no effective cancer treatments are available.

PMID: 24053905 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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