Healthcare News & Insights

DNR patients face higher death rates after surgery

Patients with a do not resuscitate (DNRs) order are more likely to die during certain surgeries — for reasons that aren’t clear.

A study in the Archives of Surgery compared age-matched patients undergoing the same surgical procedure. Those who had DNRs in place were three times more likely to die in the month following the procedure. The study accounted for the fact that the DNR group was sicker overall, and the difference in mortality rates remained. DNR patients also had more post-surgical complications.

Notably, the study found that the higher risk only occurred after some types of surgeries. For example, exploratory laparotomies had the highest risk for DNR patients, while thighbone fracture repair or appendectomies showed no difference in mortality rates.

The study authors say the results may help doctors advise patients with DNRs on which procedures would be more or less beneficial for them.

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