Purpose: Pneumonia poses a significant health risk in aging societies. We aimed to elucidate the determinative value of frailty for do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in pneumonia patients.
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted at the Seoul National University Bundang Hospital (SNUBH) in Korea. Medical records of 431 pneumonia patients, aged 65 years and older, who were admitted between June 2014 and May 2015 were analyzed. Patients were categorized into DNR and no-DNR groups.
Results: Among the 65 patients (15.1% of pneumonia patients) who completed DNR documents, 24 patients were survived, and 21 patients decided imminent to death (<24 hours before death), with all decisions determined by surrogates. The DNR group tended to be older and frail, with higher rates of renal impairment and malnutrition, and had a lower microbiology detection effort than the no-DNR group. The DNR group used a high number of broad-spectrum antibiotics, experienced high levels of in-hospital (63.1% vs 5.7%, P<0.001) and 30-day (64.6% vs 9.6%, P<0.001) mortality rates, and had prolonged hospital stays (median length of hospital stay, 12 vs 9 days, P=0.020). Frailty was independently associated with DNR status even after adjustment for sepsis, septic shock, and the pneumonia severity index (PSI) score. Frailty also significantly influenced healthcare setting transitions after adjustment for sepsis, septic shock, and the PSI.
Conclusion: We identified the factors associated with DNR orders and their prognoses among elderly Koreans with pneumonia. Frailty was significantly associated with DNR decision and healthcare setting transitions in pneumonia patients.