Characteristics, Mortality Rates, and Treatments Received in Last Few Days of Life for Patients Dying in Intensive Care Units: A Multicenter Study

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2020 Oct;37(10):761-766. doi: 10.1177/1049909120902976. Epub 2020 Jan 29.


Background: Information is presently lacking about the end-of-life care in intensive care unit (ICU). We explored the characteristics, mortality rates, and treatments received in the last few days of life for patients who died in ICU.

Methods: This was a retrospective multicenter cohort study. We included patients who died from different medical illnesses between January 2014 and January 2017 in 8 medical ICUs across 3 major health-care systems in Jordan. Of 11 029 patients who were admitted for the study in ICUs, data from 3885 health records were retrieved and analyzed. Pediatric patients aged younger than 18 years and patients admitted to an ICU for less than 4 hours were excluded.

Results: The mean ICU mortality rate was 34.6% (29%-38%), with a slight decline from 2014 through 2016. Most of the patients who died were male (56.6%), transferred from the emergency department (46.8%), and had multiple comorbidities (74%). Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, invasive mechanical ventilation, pharmacological hemodynamic support, and artificial hydration were pursued until death for most patients (91.5%, 80.1%, 78.8%, and 94.1%, respectively).

Conclusions: Aggressive treatment modalities were usually pursued for critically ill patients at the end of their lives. There is a need to explore further the current end-of-life care needs and practices in ICUs in Jordan and to tailor end-of-life care and management suitably to meet the needs of Islamic and Arabic cultures.

Keywords: Jordan; death; intensive care; mortality; terminal care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Terminal Care*