American Society of Anesthesiologists guidelines recommend that anesthesiologists revisit do-not-resuscitate orders preoperatively and revise them if necessary based on patient preferences. In patients without do-not-resuscitate orders or other directives limiting treatment however, “full code” is the default option irrespective of clinical circumstances and patient preferences. It is time to revisit this approach based on (1) increasing understanding of the power of default options in healthcare settings, (2) changing demographics and growing evidence suggesting that an expanding subset of patients is vulnerable to poor outcomes after perioperative cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and (3) recommendations from multiple societies promoting risk assessment and goal-concordant care in older surgical patients. The authors reconsider current guidelines in the context of these developments and advocate for an expanded approach to decision-making regarding CPR, which involves identifying high-risk elderly patients and eliciting their preferences regarding CPR irrespective of existing or presumed code status.

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