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Treatment choice for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at risk for AIDS



Treatment choice for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at risk for AIDS



JAMA 265(22): 2976-2981



Many infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units are the children of women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); they have approximately a 30% risk of infection. To investigate attitudes surrounding treatment for such newborns, we conducted a survey of professionals at six neonatal intensive care units in New York City [New York, USA]. A significant proportion of the 247 respondents recommended less aggressive treatment for non-HIV-related conditions for infants at risk for HIV compared with those not at risk. For example, 97% of respondents recommended open heart surgery for an infant with no known HIV risk but only 77% recommended surgery for an infant whose mother had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; if certain the infant was infected, 42% of respondents recommended surgery. We conclude that perceived HIV status may influence decision making about treatment for non-HIV-related conditions for critically ill patients, including infants not actually infected. Ethical issues concerning the relevance of HIV status need to be examined.

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Accession: 007965411

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 2033769

DOI: 10.1001/jama.1991.03460220064033



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