Patients with chronic lung disease are being denied intensive care treatment because doctors are too pessimistic about their chances, research suggests.
A British Medical Journal study of 800 patients admitted to intensive care to help them breathe found survival rates were higher than doctors predicted.
It suggests patients may not be admitted when they would benefit from treatment, the researchers warn.
When patients have a COPD attack, they can benefit from intubation – where a tube is put into their airway to help them breathe – but they have to be admitted to intensive care so they can be sedated for the procedure.
But doctors may be unwilling to admit patients who have a poor prognosis.