Do-not-resuscitate order

do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR, is a document that tells doctors, nurses and other emergency medical staff what not to do when a person stops breathing, or when their heart rhythm is life-threatening. It can include instructions on what methods should be avoided to revive someone, such as those listed below:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
    Manual chest pressure and mouth-to-mouth breathing to circulate blood and oxygenate the lungs.
  • Defibrillation
    Giving the heart an electric shock to bring back a normal heartbeat.
  • Respirator (breathing tube and machine)
    Used to help with breathing in an unconscious person.
  • Medicine
    Giving medicines to restore an effective heart rate and improve circulation of blood to major organs. The presence of a device doesn’t prevent any measures or complicate treatment that is considered appropriate according to the content of the DNR order.

The decision to have a written DNR should be made by you and your family in consultation with your doctor.

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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