A Randomized Controlled Trial of a CPR Decision Support Video for Patients Admitted to the General Medicine Service

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Patient preferences regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are important, especially during hospitalization when a patient's health is changing. Yet many patients are not adequately informed or involved in the decision-making process.


We examined the effect of an informational video about CPR on hospitalized patients' code status choices.


This was a prospective, randomized trial conducted at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Minnesota.


We enrolled 119 patients, hospitalized on the general medicine service, and at least 65 years old. The majority were men (97%) with a mean age of 75.


A video described code status choices: full code (CPR and intubation if required), do not resuscitate (DNR), and do not resuscitate/do not intubate (DNR/DNI). Participants were randomized to watch the video (n = 59) or usual care (n = 60).


The primary outcome was participants' code status preferences. Secondary outcomes included a questionnaire designed to evaluate participants' trust in their healthcare team and knowledge and perceptions about CPR.


Participants who viewed the video were less likely to choose full code (37%) compared to participants in the usual care group (71%) and more likely to choose DNR/DNI (56% in the video group vs. 17% in the control group) (P < 0.00001). We did not see a difference in trust in their healthcare team or knowledge and perceptions about CPR as assessed by our questionnaire.


Hospitalized patients who watched a video about CPR and code status choices were less likely to choose full code and more likely to choose DNR/DNI.

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