PURPOSE: To characterize perceptions of palliative versus futile care in interventional radiology (IR) as a roadmap for quality improvement.METHODS: Interventional radiologists (IRs) and referring physicians were recruited for anonymous interviews and/or focus groups to discuss their perceptions and experiences related to palliative verse futile care in IR. Sessions were recorded, transcribed, and systematically analyzed using dedicated software, content analysis, and grounded theory. Data collection and analysis continued simultaneously until additional interviews stopped revealing new themes: 24 IRs (21 males, 3 females, 1-39years of experience) and 7 referring physicians (3 males, 4 females, 6-14years of experience) were analyzed.RESULTS: Many IRs (75%) perceived futility as an important issue. Years of experience (r=0.60, p=0.03) and being in academics (r=0.62, p=0.04) correlated with greater perceived importance. Perceptions of futility and whether a potentially inappropriate procedure was performed involved a balance between four sets of factors (patient, clinician, procedural, and cultural). These assessments tended to be qualitative in nature and are challenged by a lack of data, education, and consistent workflows. Referring clinicians were unaware of this issue and assumed IR had guidelines for differentiating between palliation and futility.CONCLUSION: This study characterized the complexity and qualitative nature of assessments of palliative verses futile care in IR while highlighting potential means of improving current practices. This is important given the number of critically ill patients referred to IR and costs of potentially inappropriate interventions.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00270-020-02675-3
View details for PubMedID 33078233