One hundred clinically stable outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were surveyed at home by respiratory nurse specialists (RNS) about their views towards cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and in hospital ventilation. Written information about COPD, CPR and ventilation was provided and consent obtained. The breathing problem-based quality-of-life questionnaire (BP-QoL) was completed. The following information was recorded: age, sex, spirometry, hospital admissions, and antidepressant and oxygen usage in the previous year. Patients were then asked to imagine a scenario in which they were admitted to hospital and their chest condition deteriorated in spite of standard treatment. 'Having reached that stage would you wish to have noninvasive ventilation (NIV), invasive ventilation (IV) or CPR?' Three months later patients were asked to complete a postal patient satisfaction questionnaire.
Results: Of 100 patients 41 were male and the mean age was 74.1 years. Fifty four patients had a FEV1 <40% and 37 had a FEV1 between 40 and 59% predicted. Twenty-four patients were on long-term oxygen therapy, eight had taken antidepressants and 56 had been admitted to hospital in the previous year. Forty-eight patients wanted all additional treatments to be attempted if needed and 12 wanted none. Nineteen patients said 'no' for CPR and 10 said 'no' for CPR and IV. There was no significant statistical difference between the groups answering 'yes' or 'no'. Seventy-six per cent of patient satisfaction questionnaires were returned. All patients were satisfied with the way they had been approached and the information received, and 98% of them thought that this issue should be discussed with all patients.
Conclusion: Attitudes towards resuscitation can be discussed with COPD patients by RNS without causing distress. Attitudes to resuscitation could not be predicted from parameters of respiratory disease severity or age.