An empirical analysis of the decision-making of limiting life-sustaining treatment for patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Hong Kong, China

Samantha M.C. Pang, Chun Yan Tse, Kin Sang Chan, Pui Man Chung, Amanda K.A. Leung, Edward M.F. Leung, Stanley K.K. Ko

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To understand the prognostic and quality-of-life considerations surrounding life-sustaining treatment decisions for patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Hong Kong China. Methods: A documentary review of 49 COPD patients and 19 patient case studies from the medical departments of 2 hospitals were undertaken to examine the practices of DNI decision-making (do not perform mechanical ventilation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Statistical, event, and thematic analyses were conducted to delineate the prognostic and quality-of-life factors that shaped the not for intubation and mechanical ventilation (DNI) decisions. Results: Three major treatment-limiting decision-making patterns existed in practice: 1) Patient-initiated and shared decision-making with physician (n = 14); 2) Physician-initiated and shared decision-making with the patient/family members (n = 24); and 3) Physician-initiated DNI decision-making with patient family, but without patient participation due to mental incapacity (n = 11). Prognostic considerations include physiological parameters, performance status, concomitant diseases, therapeutic regimens, and the utilization of medical services. Three major themes were delineated regarding the way in which the patients evaluated their life quality in the context of DNI status. They are prognostic awareness, illness burdens, and existential concerns. Discussion: A decision-making framework used by patients/families/physicians to limit life-sustaining treatments in patients with advanced COPD is delineated. Observations regarding how treatment limiting decision-making for patients with advanced chronic illnesses can be improved in Hong Kong are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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