Ask the Nurse; How do I decide between DNR or CPR?

September 4, 2018

How do I decide between a DNR (do not resuscitate) or having CPR given should I stop breathing or my heart stops?

What happens when CPR is given?

CPR consists of chest compression’s and mouth to mouth breathing to attempt restoring lung function and heartbeat. Once started, CPR will continue until medical help arrives and may progress to:

  1. Intubation.
  2. Mechanical ventilation.
  3. Medications given through an IV.
  4. Electrical shock to the heart to attempt it to restart.

What are some of the side effects of CPR?

  1. It can cause sore muscle and chest pain.
  2. Fractured ribs and other bones.
  3. Collapsed lungs.
  4. Vomiting with aspiration into the lungs.
  5. Liver contusions and laceration.

CPR doesn’t change aspects of other medical conditions. It is not meant for terminally ill patients.

Remember to discuss with family and decide what is important to you and your family. Age is also a big determining factor when deciding. Only 10% who survive CPR will return to their normal function. If you choose not to have CPR applied, it is HIGHLY encouraged to wear a necklace or bracelet stating that you are a DNR or else CPR will be performed on you.


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