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Early do-not-resuscitate orders in intracerebral haemorrhage; frequency and predictive value for death and functional outcome. A retrospective cohort study

Marco Brizzi1*, Kasim Abul-Kasim2, Mattis Jalakas1, Eufrozina Selariu2, Hélène Pessah-Rasmussen1 and Elisabet Zia1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Malmö, Sweden

2 Department of Radiology, Skåne University Hospital, Ing 52, 205 02, Malmö, Sweden

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Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2012, 20:36  doi:10.1186/1757-7241-20-36

Published: 25 May 2012



In former studies from North America early Do-Not–Resuscitate orders (DNR orders) in patients with intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) had negative prognostic impact on mortality. The influence of DNR orders on functional outcome and whether DNR orders are grounded on relevant patient characteristics is unknown. We aimed to determine the frequency and predictive factors of DNR-orders and its association to prognosis, in ICH patients, in Scandinavia.


In 197 consecutive ICH patients admitted to Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden, between January 2007 and June 2009, information of the presence of DNR orders within 48 hours, clinical and radiological characteristics was retrieved by review of patient medical journal and computed tomography scans. Determinants of DNR-orders, one-month case fatality and bad functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale, grade 4–6) were assessed by logistic regression analysis.


DNR orders were made in 41% of the cases. After adjustment for confounding factors, age ≥ 75 years (Odds Ratio (95% confidence interval) 4.2(1.8-9.6)), former stroke (5.1(1.9-3.1)), Reaction Level Scale grade 2–3 and 4 (7.0(2.8-17.5) and (4.1(1.2-13.5), respectively) and intraventricular haemorrhage (3.8(1.6-9.4)) were independent determinants of early DNR orders. Independent predictors of one-month case fatality was age ≥ 75 years (3.7(1.4-9.6)) volume ≥ 30 ml (3.5(1.3-9.6)) and DNR orders (3.5(1.5-8.6)). Seizure (6.0(1.04-34.2) and brain stem hemorrhage (8.0(1.1-58.4)) were related to bad functional outcome, whereas early DNR order was not (3.5(0.99-12.7)).


Well known prognostic factors are determinants for DNR orders, however DNR orders are independently related to one-month case fatality. In addition to improvements of the local routines, we welcome a change of attitude with an enhanced awareness of the definition of, and a more careful approach with respect to DNR orders.

Intracerebral haemorrhage; Prognosis; Functional outcome; Mortality; Do not resuscitate orders