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Table 4 Organ failures, treatment already engaged, and rationales for WhWd at the time of the decision-making, separating withholding and withdrawal of treatment

From: Withholding or withdrawal of treatment under French rules: a study performed in 43 intensive care units

  Withholding, Withdrawal, p
N = 344 N = 433
Total SOFA score median (IQR) 5 (3–9) 9 (5–13) <0.01
Total SOFA score ≥ 8 122 (35.5) 260 (60.0) <0.01
Total SOFA score ≥ 5 198 (57.6) 367 (84.8) <0.01
Total SOFA score ≥ 3 282 (82.0) 418 (96.5) <0.01
Respiratory failure 119 (34.6) 182 (42.0) 0.03
Neurologic failure 104 (30.2) 281 (64.9) <0.01
Circulatory failure 103 (29.9) 192 (44.3) <0.01
Hepatic failure 10 (2.9) 37 (8.5) <0.01
Hematologic failure 14 (4.1) 54 (12.5) <0.01
Renal failure 56 (16.3) 118 (27.3) <0.01
Treatments already engaged:
 Endotracheal ventilation 213 (61.9) 375 (86.6) <0.01
 Non-invasive ventilation 50 (27.9) 35 (17.3) <0.01
 Inotrope use 107 (31.1) 206 (47.6) <0.01
 Renal replacement therapy 24 (7.2) 100 (23.6) <0.01
 Antibiotics 158 (45.9) 256 (59.1) <0.01
 Blood product transfusion 46 (14.9) 77 (18.6) 0.11
Surgery needed 22 (6.4) 47 (10.9) 0.02
Rationales to justify WhWd:
No additional information needed 246 (78.1) 356 (90.8) <0.01
Limited subsequent autonomy 252 (80.3) 329 (81.4) 0.34
Absence of curative therapy 199 (61.4) 360 (86.5) <0.01
Non-responsive to treatment 180 (56.6) 336 (83.6) <0.01
End-stage incurable severe disease 185 (58.4) 289 (73.5) <0.01
Limited subsequent relational QOL 177 (57.7) 265 (68.3) <0.01
Limited autonomy before admission 184 (55.9) 133 (33.8) <0.01
Very advanced age 101 (31.9) 109 (27.9) 0.14
Excessive treatment felt by relatives 59 (18.9) 113 (28.2) <0.01
Patient’s wish to limit treatment 59 (19.1) 51 (13.1) 0.02
Awareness of patient’s preferences 86 (25.0) 95 (21.9) 0.31
External consultant physician 142 (41.3) 214 (49.4) 0.02
  1. Values are represented as number (%), unless stated otherwise.
  2. SOFA sequential organ failure assessment, WhWd withhold or withdraw treatment, QOL quality of life. By convention, a SOFA organ sub-score of 3 or more was considered as organ failure