Doctors should explain to the elderly and to gravely ill patients in the hospital that if their hearts stop, reviving them with CPR will probably buy them little time and may be traumatic, researchers say.

One-third of Americans who die in hospitals undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, at some time. The procedure is futile for some patients and should be eliminated for them, research suggests."The point is, to give informed consent, you need to know what the outcomes are going to be or the chances are," said Dr. George E. Taffet, who led a study of 399 CPR procedures at a Houston Veterans Administration Hospital over a one-year period.

Patients should be informed about their survival chances before they decide whether to be candidates for the "physically and emotionally traumatic procedure," Taffet said.