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Advance Directives in High-Risk Surgery

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According to a national survey of vascular, neurologic, and cardiothoracic surgeons, almost half (48%) appear to not routinely discuss advanced directives prior to surgery. All respondents of the survey, however, reported discussing potential unanticipated outcomes, and 95% discussed the need for postoperative life support. In addition, 81% of respondents discussed patient preferences to limit postoperative life support. More than half (54%) said they would not operate on patients with directives that limit postoperative care.

Abstract: Annals of Surgery, March 2012.

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