The influence of access to a private attending physician on the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies in the intensive care unit

Marin H. Kollef, Suzanne Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To assess the influence of patient access to a private attending physician on the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies in a medical intensive care unit (ICU). Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: A university-affiliated teaching hospital. Patients: A total of 501 consecutive patients admitted to the medical ICU during a 5-month period. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Among patients dying in the medical ICU, those without a private attending physician (n = 26) were statistically more likely to undergo the active withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies than patients with a private attending physician (n = 87) (80.8% vs. 29.9%; relative risk = 2.70; 95% confidence interval = 1.86-3.92; p < .001). Despite having similar predicted mortality rates by Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (60.5% ± 27.0% vs. 66.1% ± 21.3%; p = .280), patients dying in the medical ICU without a private attending physician had statistically shorter hospital and ICU lengths of stay, a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation, and fewer total hospital costs and charges compared with patients with access to a private attending physician. Multiple logistic regression analysis, controlling for severity of illness, demographic characteristics, and patient diagnoses, demonstrated that lack of access to a private attending physician (adjusted odds ratio = 23.10; 95% confidence interval = 9.10-58.57; p < .001) and the presence of a do-not-resuscitate order while in the ICU (adjusted odds ratio = 7.33; 95% confidence interval = 3.6914.54; p = .004) were the only variables independently associated with the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies before death. Conclusions: Patients dying in a medical ICU setting without access to a private attending physician are more likely to undergo the active withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies before death than patients with a private attending physician. Health care providers should be aware of possible variations in the practice of withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies in their ICUs based on this patient characteristic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2125-2132
Number of pages8
JournalCritical care medicine
Volume27
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 1999

Keywords

  • Critical care
  • Health insurance
  • Intensive care unit
  • Private attending physician
  • Withdrawal of life support

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of access to a private attending physician on the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies in the intensive care unit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this