BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in the first 24 hours after intracerebral hemorrhage have been associated with an increased risk of early death. This relationship is less certain for ischemic stroke. We assessed the relation between treatment restrictions and mortality in patients with ischemic stroke and in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage. We focused on the timing of treatment restrictions after admission and the type of treatment restriction (DNR order versus more restrictive care). METHODS: We retrospectively assessed demographic and clinical data, timing and type of treatment restrictions, and vital status at 3 months for 622 consecutive stroke patients primarily admitted to a Dutch university hospital. We used a Cox regression model, with adjustment for age, sex, comorbidities, and stroke type and severity. RESULTS: Treatment restrictions were installed in 226 (36%) patients, more frequently after intracerebral hemorrhage (51%) than after ischemic stroke (32%). In 187 patients (83%), these were installed in the first 24 hours. Treatment restrictions installed within the first 24 hours after hospital admission and those installed later were independently associated with death at 90 days (adjusted hazard ratios, 5.41 [95% CI, 3.17-9.22] and 5.36 [95% CI, 2.20-13.05], respectively). Statistically significant associations were also found in patients with ischemic stroke and in patients with just an early DNR order. In those who died, the median time between a DNR order and death was 520 hours (interquartile range, 53-737). CONCLUSIONS: The strong relation between treatment restrictions (including DNR orders) and death and the long median time between a DNR order and death suggest that this relation may, in part, be causal, possibly due to an overall lack of aggressive care.

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Department of Neurology

Reinink, H. (Hendrik), Konya, B. (Burak), Geurts, M., Kappelle, J., & van der Worp, B. (2020). Treatment Restrictions and the Risk of Death in Patients With Ischemic Stroke or Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Stroke, 51(9), 2683–2689. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029788