BMC Anesthesiol. 2015;15(164)
Authors: Christoph L. Lassen et al
A Single-Centre Retrospective Study on Incidence, Demographics and Outcome
Background: While anesthesiologist’s involvement in palliative care has been widely researched, extensive data on palliative patients under anesthesiological care in the operating room is missing. This study was performed to assess the incidence, demographics, and outcome of palliative patients under anesthesiological care.
Methods: We conducted a single-center retrospective chart review of all palliative patients under anesthesiological care at a university hospital in 1 year. Patients were classified as palliative if they fulfilled all predefined criteria (a) incurable, life-threatening disease, (b) progression of the disease despite therapy, (c) advanced stage of the disease with limited life-expectancy, (d) receiving or being in need of a specific palliative therapy. Demographics, periprocedural parameters, symptoms at evaluation, and outcome were determined using different medical records.
Results: Of 17,580 patients examined, 276 could be classified as palliative patients (1.57 %). Most contacts with palliative patients occurred in the operating room (68.5 %). In comparison to the non-palliative patients, procedures in palliative patients were significantly more often urgent or emergency procedures (39.1 % vs. 27.1 %., P < 0.001), and hospital mortality was higher (18.8 % vs. 5.0 %, P < 0.001). Preprocedural symptoms varied, with pain, gastrointestinal, and nutritional problems being the most prevalent.
Conclusions: Palliative patients are treated by anesthesiologists under varying circumstances. Anesthesiologists need to identify these patients and need to be aware of their characteristics to adequately attend to them during the periprocedural period.