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End-of-life decisions in acute stroke patients: an observational cohort study

Alonso, Angelika ; Ebert, Anne Dorothee ; Dörr, Dorothee ; Buchheidt, Dieter ; Hennerici, Michael G. ; Szabo, Kristina

In: BMC Palliative Care, 15 (2016), Nr. 38. pp. 1-9. ISSN 1472-684X

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Download (583kB) | Lizenz: Creative Commons LizenzvertragEnd-of-life decisions in acute stroke patients: an observational cohort study by Alonso, Angelika ; Ebert, Anne Dorothee ; Dörr, Dorothee ; Buchheidt, Dieter ; Hennerici, Michael G. ; Szabo, Kristina underlies the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany

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Abstract

Background: Crucial issues of modern stroke care include best practice end-of-life-decision (EOLD)-making procedures and the provision of high-quality palliative care for dying stroke patients. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed records of those patients who died over a 4-year period (2011–2014) on our Stroke Unit concerning EOLD, focusing on the factors that most probably guided decisions to induce limitation of life-sustaining therapy and subsequently end-of-life-care procedures thereafter. Results: Of all patients treated at our Stroke Unit, 120 (2.71 %) died. In 101 (86.3 %), a do-not-resuscitate-order (DNRO) was made during early treatment. A decision to withdraw/withhold further life supportive therapy was made in 40 patients (34.2 %) after a mean of 5.0 days (range 0–29). Overall patient death occurred after a mean time of 7.0 days (range 1–30) and 2.6 days after therapy restrictions. Disturbance of consciousness at presentation, dysphagia on day 1 and large supratentorial stroke were possible indicators of decisions to therapeutic withdrawing/withholding. Proceedings of EOL care in these patients were heterogeneous; in most cases monitoring (95 %), medical procedures (90 %), oral medication (88 %), parenteral nutrition (98 %) and antibiotic therapy (86 %) were either not ordered or withdrawn, however IV fluids were continued in all patients. Conclusions: A high percentage of stroke patients were rated as terminally ill and died in the course of caregiving. Disturbance of consciousness at presentation, dysphagia on day 1 and large supratentorial stroke facilitated decisions to change therapeutic goals thus initiating end-of-life-care. However, there is further need to foster research on this field in order to ameliorate outcome prognostication, to understand the dynamics of EOLD-making procedures and to educate staff to provide high-quality patient-centred palliative care in stroke medicine.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Palliative Care
Volume: 15
Number: 38
Publisher: BioMed Central
Place of Publication: London
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2016 12:36
Date: 2016
ISSN: 1472-684X
Page Range: pp. 1-9
Faculties / Institutes: Medizinische Fakultät Mannheim > Zentrum für Medizinische Forschung
Medizinische Fakultät Mannheim > Medizinische Klinik - Lehrstuhl für Innere Medizin III
Medizinische Fakultät Mannheim > Neurologische Klinik
Subjects: 610 Medical sciences Medicine
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