Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and safety profile of orally administered low-dose ketamine for procedural pain management in pediatric cancer patients undergoing lumbar puncture (LP) in a resource-limited hospital setting.
Methods: Patients between 4 and 15 years of age, with leukemia, undergoing LP were asked to participate. The study was designed as a two-armed blinded placebo-controlled trial where 0.8 mg/kg (bodyweight) of ketamine mixed in juice was given 30 minutes before the procedure to Group K (ketamine) compared with placebo, only juice, to Group P (placebo). In addition, topical analgesia (EMLA®) was given according to established standard of care. Patients and caregivers assessed the pain using the Wong–Baker Faces Pain Rating Scale.
Results: A total number of 52 patients, equally distributed between Group K and Group P, were included in the study. The placebo-controlled group had significantly higher self-reported pain score than the group receiving ketamine (p = 0.046), as well as in caregiver-assessed pain (p = 0.033). Only three incidents of mild adverse effects were reported.
Conclusion: Low-dose oral ketamine can be safely administered for procedural analgesia in pediatric cancer patients undergoing LP in a resource-limited hospital setting and have significant pain-reducing effect compared with placebo.
Intraosseous (IO) access is normally reserved for emergencies and critical care conditions when venous cannulation is not possible. Nonetheless, we present a case of IO insertion to a 56-year-old man, tetraplegic for many years due to progressive spinal muscular atrophy and with refractory suffering. The IO access was used for palliative sedation with propofol in a home care setting. The patient died after 11 days of palliative care, of which the last 4 days were with palliative sedation using an IO cannula as a vascular access. No complications were noted from this route of administration. We advocate the use of IO access in the palliative care of terminal ill patients when a venous cannulation is not possible.
Aim: This study aimed to compare the quality of life (QoL) of cancer patients, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance of 3-4, in contact with or without contact, with a specialized palliative care unit (PCU) at a low-resource governmental cancer hospital, as well as studying the impact of this contact on the QoL in their caregivers.
Materials and Methods: Hospitalized patients with an ECOG performance of 3 or 4 and their primary caregiver were asked to participate in this observational study. Patients in contact with the specialized PCU and their closest caregivers formed Group A, while patients and families without this contact formed Group B. Contact was mainly one consultation. The patients were asked to complete the Palliative Care Outcome Scale (POS), and the caregivers were asked to complete the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the distress thermometer (DT).
Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the median POS values of the patient groups, neither regarding the total sum nor per any item. There were also no statistically significant differences between the median HADS values and median DT values when comparing the caregivers to Group A and B.
Conclusion: Consultation with a specialized PCU at this tertiary referral center did not alter the QoL of patients with an ECOG performance of 3-4 nor did it affect the psychological well-being of their caregivers. We argue that monitoring prescribed treatment and follow-up is a necessary component of PC.
AIM: To study to what extent tumor-specific treatment (chemo- or radiotherapy) was given during the last 30 days in life and to examine how many of the patients were referred to a specialized palliative care unit (PCU), at a low-resource governmental hospital in India.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Medical records of adult cancer patients deceased between April 1 and May 31 in 2016, and pediatric cancer patients deceased between April 1 and September 30 in 2016 were collected. Data regarding gender, age at admission, cancer diagnosis, tumor-specific treatment received, referral to the PCU, and date of death, were sampled.
RESULTS: A total of 96 patients (52 adults and 44 pediatric patients) were included in the study. In the last 30 days of life, tumor-specific treatment was given to 39 adult patients and 38 pediatric patients. During the last week in life, 26 adult and 25 pediatric patients, respectively, received tumor-specific treatment. Twenty-six adult and 25 pediatric patients, respectively, were referred to the PCU. End-of-life (EoL) tumor therapy was given to a lesser extent among referred patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Eighty percent of the patients were given tumor-specific treatment near EoL. Half of the patients had been referred for specialized palliative care (SPC).
AIM: The primary objective of this study was to describe demographics and end-of-life treatments of children with cancer at a government tertiary cancer center in India.
METHODS: A retrospective review was undertaken of medical charts of all children younger than 18 years, who died as inpatients while undergoing treatment at the pediatric oncology department between April and September 2016. Data were collected on demographics, diagnosis, treatments, survival, palliative care involvement, and symptoms at end of life.
RESULTS: There were 44 pediatric oncology patients who died in the hospital during the study period. The most frequent diagnoses were hematological malignancies (n = 29).
Tumor-specific treatment was given to 38/44 (86%) patients in the last 30 days of life, and 13 patients in the last day of life or 1 day before. Of all deaths, 23/44 (52%) occurred within 30 days of admission to the pediatric ward and 34/44 (77%) within 90 days.
Of the 44 patients, 25 (57%) were referred to palliative care. The median number of days between referral and death was 14 (0–78) days. Frequent symptoms documented were bleeding (11/44), dyspnea (10/44), pain (7/44), seizures (7/44), and delirium (5/44), with each patient having one or more of these symptoms. Only patients with a palliative care referral received opioid analgesics or benzodiazepines at the end of life.
CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the demographics of suffering, death, and end-of-life care in children with cancer at a government tertiary cancer center in India.