Characterization of Patients who were Mechanically Ventilated in General Medicine Wards.

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Characterization of Patients who were Mechanically Ventilated in General Medicine Wards.

Isr Med Assoc J. 2015 Aug;17(8):496-9

Authors: Izhakian S, Buchs AE

Abstract
BACKGROUND: In Israel, where the "Do not resuscitate code" and "advanced directives" are not yet universally practiced, physicians are frequently 'forced' to mechanically ventilate patients despite an upfront unfavorable prognosis. Due to the shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, patients are mostly hospitalized in general medicine wards.
OBJECTIVES: To differentiate between patients with particularly grim prognoses and those with good prognoses, in order to inform the potential decision-making process regarding whether or not to offer aggressive medical care.
METHODS: This retrospective study included all mechanically ventilated patients hospitalized exclusively in one of the six general internal medicine wards at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center during 2009-2010. Demographic and ventilation-related data, laboratory values and main medical diagnoses were correlated to in-hospital mortality.
RESULTS: The study group comprised 437 patients with a median age of 83 years. Mortality was 72%. Initiation of mechanical ventilation out of the hospital or in the emergency room improved outcome. Age, anemia, leukocytosis and renal failure correlated negatively to outcome. In-hospital mortality was 80% in patients after in-hospital resuscitation, 90% in patients ventilated due to infections, but 50% in patients ventilated for cardiac or respiratory failure.
CONCLUSIONS: The prognosis of mechanically ventilated patients can be foreseen, which could help in deciding whether aggressive life support would be in the interest of the patient.

PMID: 26394492 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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