The aim of this study was to report our experience with palliative stent treatment of superior vena cava syndrome.
Between January 2008 and December 2009, 30 patients (mean age 60.7 years) were treated with stents because of stenosed superior vena cava. All patients presented clinically with superior vena cava syndrome and according caval stenosis confirmed by computed tomography. The causes of stenoses were non-small cell carcinoma in 22 patients and small cell carcinoma in 8 patients.
In all patients the stents were placed as intended in all patients there was an immediate clinical improvement with considerable reduction in the edema of upper extremities and head. There was, however, continous dyspnea in five patients (17%) and two patients (7%) had persistent visible collateral venous circulations on the upper chest. There were no stent associated complications. All patients were followed clinically till death and the median follow-up period was 2.8 months (15-420 days). During follow-up three cases of stent thrombosis (one complete and two partial thrombosis) were observed.
Palliative care with stent implantation for superior vena cava syndrome is a minimal invasive and safe procedure with good clinical effect giving the patients a significant better quality of their residual life.
The expression and discussion of feelings of loss and grief can be very difficult for terminally ill patients. Expressing their emotions can help these patients experience a more relaxed and comfortable state. This paper discusses the role of music therapy in palliative care and the function music plays in accessing emotion. It also describes techniques used in assisting clients to express their thoughts and feelings. Case examples of three in-patient palliative care clients at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care are presented. The goals set for these patients were to decrease depressive symptoms and social isolation, increase communication and self-expression, stimulate reminiscence and life review, and enhance relaxation. The clients were all successful in reaching their individual goals.
Most adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) are interested in discussing matters related to advance care planning (ACP) early in the disease course, yet few such conversations actually occur. We aimed to evaluate factors that impact these discussions between patients and adult CHD providers.
Two hundred adult CHD outpatients completed a survey that included factors that might impact ACP discussions with their doctors. In parallel, forty-eight providers within the Canadian Adult Congenital Heart Network completed a similar online survey. Responses were compared between the groups.
Most providers (85%) worried that they were unable to reliably estimate life expectancy and believed that patients were not ready for end-of-life discussions if their estimated life expectancies were beyond 5 years (63%) or beyond 10 years (79%). In contrast, only 24% of patients, independent of disease complexity, thought they were not ready to talk about ACP. Most providers (83%) reported that greater certainty about patients' prognoses would help them discuss ACP. Patients thought that such discussions were best facilitated when they had trust in their doctors (85%) and believed their doctors are good at taking care of patients with CHD (78%).
Despite the fact that challenges to prognostication exist, discussions about ACP should not be reserved for patients with a severely reduced life expectancy. Most patients want these discussions regardless of the complexity of their disease. The trusting and close patient-doctor relationship in adult CHD, often evolving over many years, may provide an excellent platform from which to initiate such discussions.
Palliative radiotherapy (PRT) can improve quality of life for people dying of cancer. Variation in the delivery of PRT by factors unrelated to need may indicate that not all patients who may benefit from PRT receive it. In this study, 13,494 adults who died of cancer between 2000 and 2005 in Nova Scotia, Canada, were linked to radiotherapy records. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationships among demographic, clinical, service, and geographic variables, and PRT consultation and treatment. Among the decedents, 4188 (31.0%) received PRT consultation and 3032 (22.3%) treatment. PRT declined with increased travel time and community deprivation. Females, older persons, and nursing home residents also had lower PRT rates. Variations were observed by cancer site and previous oncology care. Variations in PRT use should be discussed with referring physicians, and improved means of access to PRT considered. Benchmarks for optimal rates of PRT are needed.
Cites: Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Nov 15;69(4):1001-717689029
Cites: Support Care Cancer. 2007 Sep;15(9):1015-2117277924
This study attempts to define clinical predictors of survival in patients with unresectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma (UPA).
A retrospective study of 94 consecutive patients diagnosed with UPA from 2001 to 2006 was performed. Using data for these patients, a symptom score was devised through a forward stepwise Cox proportional hazards model based on four weighted criteria: weight loss of >10% of body weight; pain; jaundice, and smoking. The symptom score was subsequently validated in a distinct cohort of 32 patients diagnosed with UPA in 2007.
In the original cohort, the overall median survival was 9.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.6-10.4). This altered to 10.3 months (95% CI 6.1-14.5) in patients with locally advanced disease, and 6.6 months (95% CI 4.2-9.0) in patients with distant metastasis. Median survival was 14.6 months (95% CI 13.1-16.1) in patients with a low symptom (LS) score and 6.3 months (95% CI 4.1-8.5) in patients with a high symptom (HS) score. A total of 73% of LS score patients survived beyond 9 months, compared with only 38% of HS score patients (P
Informal caregiving is a complex concept, and inconsistencies are found in the literature regarding how to measure it. The differences in tasks included in the definition of caregiving, as well as the different methods used to measure caregiving time may explain the huge variations in results found in the literature. The current paper aimed to lay out the challenges of how to calculate the time spent by informal caregivers on providing care and assistance to an ill person at home. It also proposes a method for measuring informal caregiving time, which attempts to distinguish between "normal" activities and "caregiving" activities. The proposed measurement method is then applied to a cohort of informal caregivers of palliative care patients. The illustration study revealed that this method brought advantages comparatively to other methods, and that persisting challenges remain in measuring informal caregiving time. We conclude that, the estimate of time spent caregiving for palliative care patients may be useful in guiding support programs for the families taking care of a loved one at home during the palliative phase of care.
To estimate the dose-related risk of injuries in older adults associated with the use of low-, medium-, and high-potency opioids.
Historical population-based cohort study: 2001 to 2003.
Quebec, Canada's, universal healthcare system.
Four hundred three thousand three hundred thirty-nine adults aged 65 and older.
Population-based health databases were used to measure preexisting risk factors for injuries in 2001/02 and drug use and injuries during follow-up (2003). Type and dose of opioids were measured as time-dependent variables, as were other drugs that may increase the risk of injury from sedating side-effects or hypotension. The risk of injury per one adult dose increase in opioid dose was estimated using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.
During the follow-up year, 50.7% of the study population were prescribed drugs with sedating side effects, 15.3% were prescribed an opioid, 20.7% were concurrently using more than one sedating medication, and 3.7% were treated for an injury, fractures (55.1%) being the most common. After adjusting for concurrent drug use and baseline risk factors, low- (hazard ratio (HR)=1.36, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.33-1.39) and intermediate-potency (HR=1.05, 95% CI=1.02-1.07) opioids were associated with the risk of injury. Use of codeine combinations was associated with the highest risk of injury, a 127% greater risk (HR=2.27, 95% CI=2.21-2.34) per one adult dose increase. (The mean World Health Organization standardized dose in the study population was 1.71 ± 0.85 adult doses.)
Opioids increase the risk of injury in older adults, particularly codeine combinations.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the results of standardised total mesorectal excision of rectal cancer with particular reference to local recurrence and survival. DESIGN: Prospective open study. SETTING: Central hospital, Norway. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Local recurrence, survival. RESULTS: The resectability rate was 90% (107/118), of whom 81 (76%) underwent curative resection. The overall local recurrence rate in patients who underwent primary resection was 9% with an overall five-year survival rate of 53%. In patients who had had curative operations the local recurrence rate was 4% (3/81), with an overall five year survival of 65% and a cancer specific survival of 85%. None of the patients who had palliative treatment survived five years. In 12 patients whose tumours were thought to be unresectable but who were operated on, of whom nine were given additional radiotherapy (46 Gy), 5 (42%) developed local recurrences and the five year cancer free survival was 25%. CONCLUSION: Total mesorectal excision and strict adherence to the surgical principles of anatomical dissection in the pelvis and washing out of the rectal stump before anastomosis reduce local recurrences to a minimum. In patients with locally advanced, fixed cancers, preoperative irradiation with more than 46 Gy must precede operation to achieve local control.
Self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) are commonly used in the palliative treatment of malignant gastrointestinal (GI) obstructions with favorable short-term outcome. Data on long-term outcome are scarce, however.
To evaluate long-term outcome after palliative stent treatment of malignant GI obstruction.
Between October 2006 and April 2008, nine Norwegian hospitals included patients treated with SEMS for malignant esophageal, gastroduodenal, biliary, and colonic obstructions. Patients were followed for at least 6 months with respect to stent patency, reinterventions, and readmissions.
Stent placement was technically successful in 229 of 231 (99%) and clinically successful after 1 week in 220 of 229 (96%) patients. Long-term follow-up was available for 219 patients. Of those, 72 (33%) needed reinterventions. Stent occlusions or migrations (92%) were the most common reasons. Esophageal stents required reinterventions most frequently (41%), and had a significantly (p = 0.02) shorter patency (median 152 days) compared to other locations (gastroduodenal, 256 days; colon, 276 days; biliary, 460 days). Eighty percent of reinterventions were repeated endoscopic procedures that successfully restored patency. Readmissions were required for 156 (72%) patients. Progression of the underlying cancer was the most common reason, whereas 24% were readmitted due to stent complications.
Long-term outcome after palliative treatment with SEMS for malignant GI and biliary obstruction shows that 70% had a patent stent until death, and that most reobstructions could be solved endoscopically. Hospital readmissions were mainly related to progression of the underlying cancer disease.
Transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) is a loco-regional therapy performed to treat tumors in the liver. The branch of the hepatic artery supplying the tumor is catheterized and a mixture of iodized oil, chemotherapeutic agents and PVA embolic materials infused. TACE is a palliative treatment of unresectable cancer in the liver but can also be employed as adjunctive therapy to liver resection and/or radiofrequency ablation. The procedure can in certain instances downstage the disease and provide a bridge to liver transplantation. The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome in patients that have undergone loco-regional therapy in Iceland and the frequency and severity of complications related to the procedure.
All Icelandic patients that had undergone TACE, transarterial chemotherapy or bland embolization of liver tumors between 1 May 2007 and 1 March 2011 were included in the study.
Eighteen TACE, six transarterial chemotherapy treatments and two bland embolizations were performed on nine patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and three patients with carcinoid metastases in the liver. Mean-survival of patients with HCC was 15.2 months. Survival of patients with carcinoid metastases was between 61 and 180 months. Complete response was achieved twice and partial response four times. The disease remained stable after eleven procedures but progressed after three procedures. Minor complications were diagnosed in 6 of 26 procedures and one major complication. No patient suffered from liver failure due to the procedure. Of the 9 HCC patients, 1 patient was on the liver transplant list before TACE and later underwent successful transplantation. Additionally, 3 of the remaining 8 patients were downstaged and put on to the transplant list.