Objective: Our purpose was to examine alterations in end-of-life support in a multiinstitutional sample of PICUs.
Methods: This was a retrospective, descriptive study. Variables collected included end-of-life support category, race, length of stay, operative status, reason for admission, and Pediatric Index of Mortality 2 score, as well as the number of ICU beds and the presence of trainees.
Results: There were 1745 deaths at 35 institutions between January 1, 2004, and September 30, 2005. Of those, 1263 had complete data and were analyzed. The end-of-life support category distribution was as follows: brain death, 296 (23%); do not resuscitate, 205 (16%); limitation of support, 36 (3%); withdrawal of support, 579 (46%); no limitation, 124 (10%); no advance directives, 23 (2%). For further analyses, end-of-life support categories were grouped as limitation (ie, do not resuscitate, limitation of support, or withdrawal of support) versus no limitation (ie, no limitation or no advance directive). Brain death was not included in further analyses. The majority of deaths were in the limitation group (n = 820 [85%]), and 12 (40%) of 30 institutions had 100% of deaths in this group. There were significant differences between institutions (P < .001). Decisions for limitation were seen less frequently in the black race (112 [76%] of 147 deaths; P = .037) and in institutions with no trainees (56 [69%] of 81 deaths; P < .001).
Conclusions: Decisions to limit support are common. Black race and an absence of trainees are associated with decreased frequency of limitation decisions.
- Accepted June 4, 2010.
- Copyright © 2010 by the American Academy of Pediatrics