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Lung cancer remains the number one cause of malignancy-related mortality in the United States. Identifying risk factors that are predictive of short-term mortality among patients with non-small cell lung cancer will allow the patients, their families and health care providers to be better prepared emotionally for the fatal outcome and may attenuate the cost and distress associated with often futile measures. The objective of this study was to measure the 3-month mortality among patients with non-small cell lung cancer who developed respiratory failure. This retrospective study reviewed the outcome of all patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer who were admitted to our hospital with respiratory failure. Respiratory failure was defined as need for mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation, or at least 50% fraction of inspired oxygen. Short-term mortality was defined as death in the hospital or within 3 months of discharge, as well as discharge to hospice; shortterm mortality was found to be 94.4% in the study population. The prognosis of patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer and respiratory failure is grave. Short-term mortality among this patient population is close to 100%.
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