“Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) Orders and the Anesthesiologist: A Survey

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Anesthesiologists were surveyed to determine their experience and opinions regarding “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders in the perioperative period. Four hundred fifteen questionnaires were mailed and 193 (47%) were returned. One hundred sixty-one (87%) of 186 respondents had been requested to provide (and more than two-thirds had provided) monitored anesthesia care, regional anesthesia, or general anesthesia to a patient with a DNR order. Almost two-thirds of the respondents assume DNR suspension in the perioperative period and only half discuss this assumption with the patient/guardian. Less than 50% of respondents would require DNR suspension for a palliative procedure contrasted with >60% for an elective procedure. After agreeing to a patient's decision to retain their DNR status, >67%, >58%, <49%, and <33% would utilize positive pressure ventilation with a mask, vasoactive drugs, endotracheal intubation, or defibrillation, respectively, in the event of a cardiopulmonary arrest in the perioperative period. These findings suggest much ambiguity regarding DNR orders in the perioperative period. Further discussion among physicians and patients is warranted.(Anesth Analg 1993;76:394-401)

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