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Crit Care Med. 1985 Dec;13(12):1005-8.

Acute respiratory failure: mortality associated with underlying disease.


The hospital and ICU course of 98 patients who required mechanical ventilatory support longer than 72 h was reviewed to determine if mortality rates were influenced by admitting diagnosis. Patients with malignant diagnoses were compared to patients with nonmalignant diagnoses and to those admitted to the ICU after myocardial infarction or cardiorespiratory arrest. Although there was no significant intergroup difference in incidence of multiple organ system failure, age, and length of ICU and hospital stay, there was a much higher incidence of sepsis (p less than .05) and mortality (p less than .01) in the cancer group. Cancer patients and their families should be made aware of the extremely poor prognosis if prolonged acute respiratory failure develops.

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