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Ethical issues in cardiac arrest and acute cardiac care: a European perspective 

Ethical issues in cardiac arrest and acute cardiac care: a European perspective
Chapter:
Ethical issues in cardiac arrest and acute cardiac care: a European perspective
Author(s):

Jean-Louis Vincent

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199687039.003.0013_update_003

Update:

Updated old references 12, 41 and 46 and added a new reference related to withholding/withdrawing [36]. Added 3 Further Readings.

Updated on 22 February 2018. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 20 October 2019

Acute cardiac syndromes are common and responsible for considerable mortality and morbidity. Decision making in such patients can be difficult clinically but can also be complex and challenging from an ethical perspective. This chapter reviews some of the ethical problems, including organ donation and withholding/withdrawing, that can occur in the acutely ill adult cardiac patient, starting with a brief look at the ethical principles that should guide our decision making: beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and distributive justice. The role of advance directives and considerations related to family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation will also be discussed. With the increasing incidence and prevalence of coronary artery disease worldwide, the number of patients with cardiac arrest and requiring acute cardiac care is going to increase, and doctors will increasingly be faced with difficult ethical decisions associated with these patients. Open discussion and debate about these issues and good communication among patients, family members, and members of the health care team are essential to ensure that all patients receive the best possible end-of-life care.

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