What is the Difference Between DNR and DNI?

DNRs and DNIs are legal orders that tell a health care team what measures a patient does not want to receive in the event of a life-threatening health crisis. DNR or “Do Not Resuscitate” means that no CPR (chest compressions, cardiac drugs, or placement of a breathing tube) will be performed. A DNI or “Do Not Intubate” order means that chest compressions and cardiac drugs may be used, but no breathing tube will be placed.

It’s best to discuss DNR and DNI orders and other end-of-life care issues with the patient's health care team before a crisis occurs. You don't need to have a formal advance directive or living will to have DNR and DNI orders in place. You can make your preferences known to your physician, who can write the orders and put them in your medical record. If you have a living will, however, be sure to mention whether you have a DNR or DNI order on record.

For further information: see the Mayo Clinic’s page on Advanced Directives.

Note: This page is for general information purposes. We recommend you seek the advice of an attorney for legal matters.