Abstract 3060: Racial Disparities in Early Institution of “Do Not Resuscitate” Orders Influence Survival in Acute Ischemic Strokes.
Background: The importance of early institution of “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) orders in determining outcomes from intracerebral hemorrhage is established. In the setting of acute ischemic stroke, African Americans tend to utilize critical care interventions more and palliative care options less than Caucasians. Recent epidemiological studies in acute ischemic stroke have shown a somewhat better survival for African Americans compared with Caucasians. Our hypothesis was that racial differences in early institution of DNR orders would influence mortality in acute ischemic stroke.
Methods: a retrospective chart review was conducted on consecutive admissions for acute ischemic stroke across 10 hospitals in Michigan for the year 2006. Subjects with self reported race as African American or Caucasian were selected. Demographics, stroke risk factors, pre morbid status, DNR by day 2 of admission, stroke outcome and discharge destination were abstracted.
Results: The study included 574 subjects (144 African American, 25.1%; 430 Caucasian, 74.9%). In-hospital mortality was significantly higher among Caucasians (8.6% vs. 1.4% amongst African Americans, p=0.003). More Caucasians had institution of DNR by day 2 than African Americans (22.5% vs. 4.3%, p<0.0001). When adjusted for racial differences in DNR by day 2 status, Caucasian race no longer predicted mortality. Caucasians were significantly older than African Americans (median age 76 vs. 63.5 years, p<0.0001); and age was a significant predictor of DNR by day 2 and mortality. In the adjusted analysis, however, age marginally influenced the racial disparity in mortality (table). Caucasians with coronary disease, atrial fibrillation, severe strokes and unable to walk prior to the stroke tend to be made DNR by day 2 more frequently. Only 27.1% of Caucasians with early DNR orders died in the hospital, whereas 20.8% were eventually discharged home.
Conclusions: Early DNR orders result in a racial disparity in mortality from acute ischemic stroke. A substantial proportion of patients with early DNR orders eventually go home. Postponing the use of DNR orders may allow aggressive critical care interventions that may potentially mitigate the racial differences in mortality.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.