Clinical Factors Associated With Adherence to the Premedication Protocol for Withdrawal of Mechanical Ventilation in Terminally Ill Patients: A 4-Year Experience at a Single Medical Center in Asia

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Abstract

Purpose:

Data on end-of-life care practices in Asia are scarce. This study aimed to analyze the clinical factors associated with the recommended premedication protocol for mechanical ventilation withdrawal, in Taiwan.

Methods:

A total of 135 terminally ill patients who had mechanical ventilation withdrawn between 2013 and 2016 from a single medical center in Taiwan were enrolled. A premedication protocol of morphine and midazolam intravenous bolus was routinely recommended for the patients before mechanical ventilation withdrawal. Receipt of opioids and/or benzodiazepines during the withdrawal process was defined as full (both), partial (1 drug), and no (none) adherence. The clinical factors relevant to the adherence of recommended premedication protocol for mechanical ventilation withdrawal were analyzed.

Results:

Overall, 126 (93.3%) patients died, 8 (5.9%) patients were transferred to other institutions for further care, and 1 (0.7%) patient was discharged to home after mechanical ventilation withdrawal. The median survival time was 45 minutes, and 102 (75.6%) patients died within 1 day after the withdrawal process. The full, partial, and no adherence rates for premedication guideline were 17.8%, 40.0%, and 42.2%, respectively. The main diagnosis of cancer, receipt of hospice care, and preservation of spontaneous respiration were independent variables associated with the partial or full adherence to the premedication protocol.

Conclusion:

Our data show that adherence to the premedication protocol for mechanical ventilation withdrawal in terminally ill patients was inadequate in Taiwan. Promoting hospice care and educating medical personnel in the compassionate withdrawal of mechanical ventilation, especially in patients with noncancer disease, are warranted.

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