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Predictors to forgo resuscitative effort during Covid-19 critical illness at the height of the pandemic : A retrospective cohort study.
Mesfin N, Fischman A, Garcia MA, Johnson S, Parikh R, Wiener RS. Predictors to forgo resuscitative effort during Covid-19 critical illness at the height of the pandemic : A retrospective cohort study. Palliative Medicine. 2021 Sep 1; 35(8):1519-1524.
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, there was uncertainty regarding critical illness prognosis and challenges to traditional face-to-face family meetings. Ethnic minority populations have suffered disproportionately worse outcomes during the pandemic, which may in part relate to differences in end-of-life decision-making.
Characterize patterns of and factors associated with decisions to forgo resuscitative efforts, as measured by do-not-resuscitate orders, during critical illness with Covid-19.
Retrospective cohort with medical record abstraction.
Adult patients diagnosed with SARS-Cov-2 virus via polymerase chain reaction and admitted to the intensive care unit at an academic hospital, which cares for the city''s underserved communities, between March 1 and June 7, 2020 who underwent invasive mechanical ventilation for at least 48 hours.
In this cohort ( = 155), 45% were black people, and 51% spoke English as their primary language. Median time to first goals-of-care conversation was 3.9 days (IQR 1.9-7.6) after intensive care unit admission. Overall 61/155 patients (39%) transitioned to do-not-resuscitate status, and 50/62 (82%) patients who died had do-not-resuscitate orders. Multivariate analysis shows age and palliative care involvement as the strongest predictors of decision to instate do-not-resuscitate order. There was no association between race, ethnicity, or language and decisions to forego resuscitation.
During this time of crisis and uncertainty with limited resources and strained communication, time to first goals of care conversation was shorter than in pre-pandemic studies, but rates of foregoing resuscitation remained similar, with no differences observed by race, ethnicity, or language. This study suggests that early palliative care involvement and non-traditional communications, including videoconferencing, to facilitate goals of care conversations could have mitigated potential disparities in end-of-life decision making patterns during the pandemic.