Do not resuscitation orders and anesthesia
Given the poor results derived from cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), some decades ago, so-called do not resuscitate orders were established. These include unilateral medical decisions taken in extreme situations when the survival rate or recuperation of the patient is considered nil. Currently, and given the development of individual guaranties and their adoption in clinical practice, do not resuscitate orders are understood as agreements between physicians and patients (or their legal representatives) to not undertake CPR in the case of cardiac arrest. The definition of the clinical practice limits has slowly been accepted in view of the subsequent results in individuals' lives. However, the compatibility of these decisions -considered restrictive- on patients who will be treated under anesthesia is not yet clear. The purpose of this article is to present a conceptual framework for this dilemma and to provide answers to the formulation, consequences, and implications of do not resuscitate orders in the perianesthesia period.
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