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Resuscitation and the Radiologist

Vincent G. McDermott, MB
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Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Durham, NC 27710 Requests for Reprints: Vincent G. McDermott, MB, Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 508 Fulton Street, Durham, NC 27710.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(10):831-833. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-10-199811150-00016
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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was developed for the treatment of acute complications of myocardial infarction and anesthesia induction [1]. In the 1960s and 1970s, its use spread throughout the hospital setting until it became apparent that resuscitation was undesirable in certain terminally ill patients. This finding led to the formal introduction of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. Policies on DNR orders are now required of all hospitals seeking accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [2]. The DNR status may be determined months or even years before death is anticipated. Thus, it is not unusual for patients with a DNR order to undergo procedures (such as imaging or endoscopy) or therapies (such as radiation therapy or physiotherapy) for the purpose of improving their quality of life. However, little information is available on the acceptability and applicability of DNR orders in these settings.

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