Planning for Death - "A natural death may be preferable for many than enduring CPR"

  • I was surprised to learn about the ineffectiveness of CPR, and that the CPR process during an old age death is a very damaging and unpeaceful situation. This entire article is very eye opening and more people need to know this (especially older folks). And this brings up the importance of planning ahead and creating a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR).


    But the true odds are grim. In 2010 a review of 79 studies, involving almost 150,000 patients, found that the overall rate of survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest had barely changed in thirty years. It was 7.6%.

    Bystander-initiated CPR may increase those odds to 10%. Survival after CPR for in-hospital cardiac arrest is slightly better, but still only about 17%. The numbers get even worse with age. A study in Sweden found that survival after out-of-hospital CPR dropped from 6.7% for patients in their 70s to just 2.4% for those over 90. Chronic illness matters too. One study found that less than 2% of patients with cancer or heart, lung, or liver disease were resuscitated with CPR and survived for six months.

    But this is life or death — even if the odds are grim, what's the harm in trying if some will live? The harm, as it turns out, can be considerable. Chest compressions are often physically, literally harmful. "Fractured or cracked ribs are the most common complication," wrote the original Hopkins researchers, but the procedure can also cause pulmonary hemorrhage, liver lacerations, and broken sternums. If your heart is resuscitated, you must contend with the potential injuries.