Antibiotic use during the last days of life in cancer patients

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Oh, D. Y.; Kim, J. H.; Kim, D. W.Im, S. A.; Kim, T. Y.; Heo, D. S.; Bang, Y. J.; Kim, N. K.

Issue Date
Blackwell Publishing Inc.
European Journal of Cancer Care, Vol.15 No.1, pp.74-79
The purpose of this study is to document infection and to better understand current practice relating to antibiotic use and its effect in terminal cancer patients. We retrospectively reviewed patients with terminal stage cancer who were admitted to Seoul National University Boramae Hospital for symptom control only, and who finally died between March 2003 and April 2004. A total of 141 patients were enrolled. Mean duration from admission to death was 31.2 days. A total of 104 patients (75.2%) experienced a febrile episode, and physicians considered 113 patients (80.1%) developed a clinical infection. Total 119 patients (84.4%) received antibiotics. For 90 patients (63.8%), antibiotics were used until the day of death. After using antibiotics, 48% of fevers were controlled, and 31% of organism-proven cases were resolved. Symptomatic improvement of infection was achieved in 18 patients (15.1%), but 66 patients (55.4%) showed no improvement. Improved leucocytosis was achieved by 17% and C Reactive Protein elevation by 29%. In conclusion, our study reveals a high rate of infection and a high rate of antibiotic prescription during the last month of life in cancer patients. But symptomatic improvement was not achieved in more than half of the patients. Further study should be undertaken to clarify the benefit of antibiotics in terminal stage cancer patients.
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Dept. of Medicine (의학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_의학과)
Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology (융합과학기술대학원)Dept. of Molecular and Biopharmaceutical Sciences (분자의학 및 바이오제약학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_분자의학 및 바이오제약학과)
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