Seriously ill patients prefer shorter life to death in ICU, study finds

A new study shows that patients who are suffering from serious illnesses would be willing to shorten their lifespan rather than die in an intensive care unit, according to MedPage Today.

About 180 patients, 60 years and older, with a range of serious illnesses, including cancer and chronic heart failure, were enrolled in the study from 2015 to 2016.

The patients were given two scenarios to choose from — one involved living for five more years and dying in the ICU after going on a ventilator for the last three weeks of life; the other involved living four more years and dying at home, using pain medication as needed in the final weeks of life.

Eighty-six percent of the patients chose to live four more years and avoiding death in an ICU. Only about 11 percent of patients said they would not trade any years of survival.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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