Background: Little is known about the effectiveness of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders during transport of hospitalized patients away from their rooms.
Objective: To determine compliance with DNR orders in radiology departments.
Design: Observational study.
Setting: 248 hospital-based radiology departments.
Participants: 248 radiology department representatives.
Measurements: 10-item questionnaire examining the response of radiology personnel to patients with DNR orders who experience cardiopulmonary arrest.
Results: Written DNR protocols and structured procedures for communicating DNR status were used by 18.5% (CI, 13.7% to 23.4%) and 18.1% (CI, 13.3% to 23.0%) of departments, respectively. Medical chart review was the only source of information on DNR status for 41.5% (CI, 35.4% to 47.7%) of departments. It was found that 20.2% of respondents (CI, 15.2% to 25.2%) would resuscitate patients with DNR orders and that 38.3% (CI, 32.3% to 44.4%) had resuscitated patients with DNR orders in the past.
Conclusions: Most radiology departments do not have formal procedures to prevent patients from undergoing unwanted or inappropriate resuscitative interventions, and DNR orders are frequently overruled.