Prescription opioids are among the most effective analgesics to treat moderate to severe pain; however, little is known about the use of prescription opioids in children, particularly those receiving an extended-release formulation for the treatment of chronic pain. In this retrospective study, the authors determined the prevalence of prescription opioid use among 7–17-year-old children and associated comorbid health conditions from 2010 to 2013 using Truven Health MarketScan (MarketScan) and Optum Clinformatics DataMart (Optum). The primary end points were prevalence of using any prescription opioids, using only prescription short-acting opioids (SAOs), and at least one prescription of a long-acting opioid (LAO). The prevalence of prescription opioid use among children is non-negligible and has been trending downwards: 6.90% in 2010 and 5.93% in 2013 using MarketScan and a similar trend using Optum: 5.47% in 2010 and 4.51% in 2013. Very few children had claims for LAOs, with only 0.04% (4979 children) in MarketScan and 0.03% (1117 children) in Optum. Given the very small number of children, primarily in the 12–17 age group, who are prescribed LAOs, there is a need to focus on a better understanding of the patterns of SAO use in children.
CONTEXT: Fear of pain resonates with most people, in particular in relation to dying. Despite this, there are still people dying with unrelieved pain.
OBJECTIVES: We quantified the risk, and investigated risk factors, for dying with unrelieved pain in a nationwide observational cohort study.
METHODS: Using data from Swedish Register of Palliative Care we analysed 161 762 expected deaths during 2011-2015. The investigated risk factors included cause of death, place of death, absence of an end-of-life (EoL) conversation, and lack of contact with pain management expertise. Modified Poisson regression models were fitted to estimate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for unrelieved pain.
RESULTS: Unrelieved pain during the final week of life was reported for 25% of the patients with pain, despite prescription of opioids PRN in 97% of cases. Unrelieved pain was common both among patients dying from cancer and from non-malignant chronic diseases. Significant risk factors for unrelieved pain included hospital death (RR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.79-1.88) compared with dying in specialist palliative care, absence of an EoL conversation (RR = 1.42, 95% CI 1.38-1.45), and dying from cancer in the bones (RR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.08-1.18) or lung (RR = 1.10, 95% CI 1.06-1.13) compared with non-malignant causes.
CONCLUSION: Despite almost complete prescription of opioids PRN for patients with pain, patients die with unrelieved pain. Health care providers, hospitals in particular, need to focus more on pain in dying patients. An EoL conversation is one achievable intervention.
Opioids have long been a mainstay of symptom management in palliative care (PC), allowing patients with terminal illnesses to have an improved quality of life. Unfortunately, these same medications have contributed to the explosion of the opioid epidemic. This article explores the case of a patient with opioid use disorder (OUD) and pancreatic cancer. We share our experience of managing his symptoms and treating OUD in the setting of an outpatient PC clinic. We explore the challenges and joys of this case while reflecting on the need for more research investigating best practices for individuals where opioids serve as both a pain reliever and contributor to further suffering from their OUD.
Background: There is no nationwide data on polypharmacy in palliative care in Japan. In this study, the research committee of the Japanese Society for Pharmaceutical Palliative Care and Sciences conducted an online survey on polypharmacy and inappropriate prescriptions involving its members who worked as hospital pharmacists.
Methods: The online questionnaire included questions about hospital pharmacist interventions for cancer patients who regularly used six or more drugs during a two-month period from October to November 2017.
Results: Of 2618 hospital pharmacists, 359 responded (13.7%). With regard to cancer patients receiving opioids, 40.9 and 22.3% of the respondents replied that percentages of patients prescribed six or more regular medications were "40-69%" and "70-99%," respectively. Regarding patients on polypharmacy, 73.0% of the respondents reported a low or moderate rate of inappropriate prescriptions, with responses such as "long-term administration of irresponsible or aimless medications", "adverse drug reactions," and "duplication of the pharmacological effect". Furthermore, 24.2, 46.8, and 23.4% of respondents replied that the rates of drug reduction due to pharmacist recommendations were "0", "1-39%", and "more than 40%," respectively. Pharmacist interventions decreased the use of inappropriate medications, including antiemetics, gastrointestinal medications, and hypnotic sedatives, and reduced or prevented adverse drug reactions such as extrapyramidal symptoms, delirium, and sleepiness. Similar results were obtained for cancer patients who did not use opioids. However, the rates of cancer patients on polypharmacy and with reduction of inappropriate medications by pharmacist interventions were significantly higher in cancer patients receiving opioids. Finally, recommendations of board-certified pharmacists in palliative pharmacy contributed to a decrease in the use of inappropriate medications in cancer patients on polypharmacy (p = 0.06).
Conclusion: This nationwide survey clarified pharmacist interventions for polypharmacy in palliative care in Japan. Our data showed frequent polypharmacy in cancer patients receiving opioids, and benefits of pharmacist interventions, especially by board-certified pharmacists in palliative pharmacy, for reducing inappropriate medications and improving adverse drug reactions.
Background: Dyspnea is a common, very distressing symptom in advanced cancer patients that challenges them, their relatives, and healthcare professionals. This narrative review summarizes important literature dealing with the evidence for opioids, benzodiazepines, oxygen, and steroids for treating dyspnea in advanced cancer patients.
Methods: A selective literature search was undertaken in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library and extended with literature from the reference lists of included studies up to April 2016. Inclusion criteria were that patients were suffering from advanced cancer and were receiving either opioids, benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, or oxygen. The outcome of interest was the reduction of dyspnea measured via a visual analogue scale (VAS), a numerical rating scale (NRS), or a Borg scale. This narrative review describes in detail the findings of 13 studies.
Results: Nine studies deal with the effectiveness of opioids for reducing dyspnea in advanced cancer patients. Five of these found a significant benefit to the use of opioids compared to a placebo. Three found no significant improvements, and two favored combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines. Few high-quality studies were available that used benzodiazepines (n = 3, no difference, significant improvement with midazolam + morphine, significant difference for midazolam) or oxygen (n = 2, both without significant difference). Only one study examined treating dyspnea with steroids in patients with advanced cancer, and that study indicated a benefit of steroids compared to a placebo.
Conclusions: Opioids are the drug of choice for treating refractory dyspnea in advanced cancer patients. Neither benzodiazepines nor oxygen showed significant benefit. In addition, there is insufficient literature available to draw a conclusion about the effectiveness of steroids for treating persistent dyspnea in advanced cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: Driving cessation is associated with poor health-related outcomes. People with chronic diseases are often prescribed long-term opioid agonists that have the potential to impair driving. Studies evaluating the impact of opioids on driving-related psychomotor skills report contradictory results likely due to heterogeneous designs, assessment tools and study populations. A better understanding of the effects of regular therapeutic opioid agonists on driving can help to inform the balance between individual's independence and community safety.
AIM: To identify the literature assessing the impact of regular therapeutic opioid agonists on driving-related psychomotor skills for people with chronic pain or chronic breathlessness.
DESIGN: Systematic review reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis statement; PROSPERO Registration CRD42017055909.
DATA SOURCES: Six electronic databases and grey literature were systematically searched up to January, 2017. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) empirical studies reporting data on driving simulation, on-the-road driving tasks or driving outcomes; (2) people with chronic pain or chronic breathlessness; and (3) taking regular therapeutic opioid agonists. Critical appraisal used the National Institutes of Health's quality assessment tools.
RESULTS: From 3809 records screened, three studies matched the inclusion criteria. All reported data on people with chronic non-malignant pain. No significant impact of regular therapeutic opioid agonists on people's driving-related psychomotor skills was reported. One study reported more intense pain significantly worsened driving performance.
CONCLUSION: This systematic review does not identify impaired simulated driving performance when people take regular therapeutic opioid agonists for symptom control, although more prospective studies are needed.
Background: Opioid refractory pain is a common problem in pain management. Dexmedetomidine is suggested to have opioid-sparing effects, with well-described use in surgical and intensive care unit settings. Some authors advocate its benefit in reducing delirium. Its effects are thought to be exhibited through agonism of pre- and postsynpatic a2-receptors in the central nervous system. It is more selective on a2-receptors than clonidine, accounting for its relatively lower incidence of hypotension. Its use in sedation is favored because it does not depress the respiratory system. The main side effects reported include bradycardia.
Case Description: Twenty-eight-year-old woman with triple negative left breast cancer and a locally destructive tumor was admitted to hospice after exhausting her disease-directed therapy options. Her chief complaint was a throbbing, burning pain to the left chest wall, lower back, and bilateral lower extremities, rated 8/10 on a 10-point verbal scale. Multiple pharmacologic agents for pain, including patient-controlled analgesia infusions with adjuvant methadone and steroids, had failed to provide consistent pain management. Symptoms were difficult to control in the home setting, and she required multiple admissions to our inpatient hospice unit for pain management. She also developed episodes of delirium shortly after hospice admission. We attributed her symptoms to rapid disease progression. After failed pain control with opioids, ketamine, and lidocaine, we trialed a dexmedetomidine infusion. While on the infusion, her pain rating decreased to 0/10 and she had no delirium. Pain recurred soon after cessation of the infusion, initially rated 6/10.
Conclusion: Dexmedetomidine is safe for opioid refractory pain in the hospice inpatient setting. However, its effects may not be sustained. There is potential for use in end-of-life care, with added benefit for possible control of delirium.
CONTEXT: Morphine is recommended as the first-line pharmacological therapy for cancer dyspnea. However, the detailed practice of morphine has not been evaluated, and consensus about other opioids for cancer dyspnea has not been established.
OBJECTIVES: To explore the physician-reported practice of opioid for cancer dyspnea.
METHODS: Nationwide mail-questionnaire survey was conducted among 536 Japanese certified palliative care physicians. We randomly selected 268 and asked the following: 1) how the physicians themselves initiate and use morphine for cancer dyspnea, 2) opioid choice for dyspnea in patients who have already used opioid other than morphine regularly, and 3) opioid choice for dyspnea in patients with various degrees of renal impairment in their daily practice.
RESULTS: Overall, 192 physicians responded (response rate, 71.6%). The major (58.3%) practice of initiating morphine was "immediate-release morphine as needed" in opioid-naïve patients and the mean % increase when they titrate morphine for cancer dyspnea was 29.4±11.3% of the baseline dose. Although "titrate baseline oxycodone" was the most frequent (42.3%) for low-to-moderate-dose regular oxycodone cases, "stepwise switch to morphine" (30.0%) and "add morphine on baseline oxycodone" (27.1%) were the more frequent practices for high-dose regular oxycodone. Regardless of the baseline dose, "add morphine on baseline fentanyl" was the most frequent practice for regular transdermal fentanyl cases. Oxycodone was the most frequent choice in renal insufficiency cases, regardless of its degree.
CONCLUSIONS: Among Japanese palliative care physicians, using oxycodone for cancer dyspnea was relatively popular practice, while fentanyl was not. Oxycodone was the most preferred opioid for cancer dyspnea in the setting of renal insufficiency among Japanese palliative care physicians. We should conduct studies to confirm the safety and effectiveness of these opioid practices for cancer dyspnea.
Opioid errors are a leading cause of patient harm. Active failures in opioid dose conversion can contribute to error. Conversion is complex and is currently performed manually using tables of approximate equivalence. Apps that offer opioid dose double-checking are available but there are concerns about their accuracy and clinical validation. This study evaluated a novel opioid dose conversion app, The Safer Prescription of Opioids Tool (SPOT), a CE-marked Class I medical device, as a clinician decision support (CDS) platform. This single-centre prospective clinical utility pilot study followed a mixed methods design. Prescribers completed an initial survey exploring their current opioid prescribing practice. Thereafter prescribers used SPOT for opioid dosage conversions in parallel to their usual clinical practice, then evaluated SPOT through a survey and focus group. SPOT matched the Gold Standard result in 258 of 268 (96.3%) calculations. The 10 instances (3.7%) when SPOT did not match were due to a rounding error. Users had a statistically significant increase in confidence in prescribing opioids after using SPOT. Focus group feedback highlighted benefits in Quality Improvement and Safety when using SPOT. SPOT is a safe, reliable and validated CDS that has potential to reduce harms from opioid dosing errors.
In Norway, approximately 50% of older people die in nursing homes (NH). Holistic care and pharmacological management are key factors in quality at the end of life. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to describe the use of opioids in an NH during a 5-year period. We focused on palliative care, symptoms, and suffering during the last 3 days before death. Data were collected from spring 2013 to spring 2018. We used the interRAI assessment instrument annually and when the resident died. We conducted a semi-structured interview with nurses on duty at the deathbed. At the time of death, the residents had an average age of 88.9 years and an average stay of 2.9 years (N = 100). At the first assessment, 19% of the residents used 1 or more type of opioids. On the day of death, 55% had an active prescription for opioids, mainly as subcutaneous injections. The results illustrate the different uses of opioids, including managing pain, dyspnoea, sedation, for comfort, as a prophylaxis, or a combination of reasons. Cancer- and cardiovascular diagnoses were the strongest predictor for using morphine (P < 0.05). Identification of the residents’ needs for opioids is a challenge for palliative care nurses, both ethically and legally.
Background: Responding to an epidemic of opioid-related deaths, guidelines and laws have been implemented to promote safe opioid prescribing practices.
Objective: This study evaluates differences in screening practices and knowledge of laws between oncologists and cardiologists who prescribe opiates.
Design: Surveys regarding screening practices and knowledge of opioid prescribing laws were distributed in March 2017 to oncology and congestive heart failure (CHF) clinicians at the University of Virginia. Chi-square and Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used.
Results: Forty-six of 129 (35.6%) oncology providers and 7 of 14 (50%) CHF providers reported prescribing opiates in their clinic with usable survey results. The majority of oncology (65.22%) and cardiology (85.71%) providers report screening for substance abuse “when indicated” (p = 0.053). Only 19.6% of oncologists reported always using the prescription monitoring program (PMP), while 71.43% of cardiologists reported using it always (p = 0.014). Of the oncology providers, 66.67% report never using the urine drug screen (UDS), while 86.7% of cardiologists reported using it “when indicated” (p = 0.0086). Up to 34.78% of the oncologists and 57.14% of the cardiologists reported of never screening the family members for misuse (p = 0.317). Knowledge of laws was similar between groups, with 14.29% of cardiology and 17.39% of oncology providers reporting no knowledge of opioid prescribing laws (p = 0.2869).
Conclusions: Routine screening for substance misuse risk was uncommon for both groups, but cardiology providers were more likely to use the PMP or UDS. Knowledge gaps regarding Virginia laws were noted in both groups. Improved education regarding best practices and laws, as well as programs to promote screening, is needed for all providers.
BACKGROUND: More than 15,000 children die annually in the United States due to an underlying life-limiting disease and the majority of those children experience distressing symptoms, which are not adequately relieved, such as pain and dyspnea. Multimodal analgesia, that is multiple agents, interventions, rehabilitation, psychological modalities, and integrative (nonpharmacologic) therapies, act synergistically for more effective pediatric pain and symptom control with fewer side effects than a single analgesic or modality. However, opioids, such as morphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and methadone (in the United Kingdom: diamorphine) remain the mainstay medication to effectively treat pain and dyspnea in children with serious illness.
METHODS: This article reviews commonly used opioids in Pediatric Palliative Care, which a special emphasis on 2 potentially particularly effective multimechanistic opioids: tramadol and methadone.
RESULTS: Methadone, due to its multimechanistic action profile, is possibly among the most effective and most underutilized opioid analgesics in children with severe unrelieved pain at end of life. However, methadone should not be prescribed by those unfamiliar with its use: Its effects should be closely monitored for several days, particularly when it is first started and after any dose changes.
CONCLUSIONS: Tramadol appears to play a key role in treating episodes of inconsolability in children with progressive neurologic, metabolic, or chromosomally based condition with impairment of the central nervous system. However, the recent 2017 United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning against pediatric use of tramadol does not seem to be based on clinical evidence, and therefore puts children at risk for unrelieved pain or increased respiratory depression.
Opiophobia is one of the principal causes of opioids' under-prescription in palliative care. From periods of abuse to times where their use was banned - which is still the case in some countries - the history of opioids is complex and it partially explains opiophobia. One of the main concern about the use of opioids is the risk of -dependence. Furthermore, scientific literature is not clear on this subject, in particular due to the fact that the scientific community has not yet come to an agreement on the terminology. This article shows, on the basis of specific studies, the predominance of opiophobia among the population and it outlines an historic overview of the use of opioids. In the last section, it focuses on the concept of dependence and the difficulty of measuring it in chronic opioid therapies.
BACKGROUND: Dyspnea is commonly found in most conditions among patients with progressive noncancer disease.
OBJECTIVE: To clarify the effectiveness and safety of opioid administration for the treatment of dyspnea immediately before death in patients with noncancer disease.
METHODS: A retrospective case-series study involving 13 consecutive terminally ill patients who were near death and diagnosed with noncancer disease, and had refractory dyspnea and received opioid therapy, was performed. The authors investigated the route of administration, period, dosage of opioids, intensity of dyspnea-scored according to the Japanese version of the Support Team Assessment Schedule-and clinical course from a review of medical records.
RESULTS: The mean age of the patients was 86.5 ± 7.6years (range: 72-98years). The primary causes of dyspnea that led to opioid administration were heart failure (n = 10) and respiratory failure (n = 3). Oxycodone was used in one patient who experienced a complication of chronic renal failure; morphine was used in the other 12 patients. The route of opioid administration was continuous infusions in 11 patients, suppository in one, and oral administration in one. The final dose of oral morphine equivalents was 20.1 ± 8.1 mg/d (range: 5-36 mg [median: 18 mg]). All patients improved in symptom score after opioid administration. The score was significantly decreased from 3.2 ± 0.7 at the beginning of opioid administration to 1.2 ± 0.6 at final estimation ( P < .001). No severe adverse events occurred.
CONCLUSIONS:: Low-dose opioid administration in patients with terminally ill noncancer improved dyspnea and occurred no severe adverse events.
Importance: The recent parenteral opioid shortage (POS) has potential implications for cancer-related pain management in hospitalized patients.
Objective: This study compared changes in opioid prescriptions and clinically improved pain (CIP) among patients treated by an inpatient palliative care (PC) team before and after our institution first reported the POS.
Design, Setting, and Participants: A cohort study of 386 eligible patients with cancer treated at a comprehensive cancer center 1 month before and after the announcement of the POS. We reviewed data from electronic health records, including patient demographics, opioid type, route of administration, and dose. Board-certified palliative care specialists assessed CIP at follow-up day 1.
Exposures: The announcement of the POS by the institution's pharmacy and therapeutics committee on February 8, 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was to measure the change in opioid prescription patterns of physicians, and the secondary outcome was to measure the proportion of patients who achieved CIP before and after announcement of the POS.
Results: Of 386 eligible patients, 196 were men (51%), 270 were white (70%), and the median age was 58 years (interquartile range, 46-67 years). Parenteral opioids were prescribed less frequently by the referring oncology teams after the POS (56 of 314 [18%]) vs before the POS (109 of 311 [35%]) (P < .001). The PC team also prescribed fewer parenteral opioids after the POS (96 of 336 [29%]) vs before the POS (159 of 338 [47%]) (P < .001). After the POS (vs before the POS), significantly fewer patients achieved CIP on follow-up day 1 (119 [62%] vs 144 [75%] of 193; P = .01). Multivariate analysis showed that before the POS, patients had an 89% higher chance of achieving CIP on follow-up day 1 (odds ratio, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.22-2.94; P = .005).
Conclusions and Relevance: There was a significant change in opioid prescription patterns associated with the POS. Furthermore, after the POS, fewer patients achieved CIP. These factors have potential implications for patient satisfaction and hospital length of stay.
BACKGROUND: Opioid errors are a leading cause of patient harm and adversely impact palliative care inpatients' pain and symptom management. Yet, the factors contributing to opioid errors in palliative care are poorly understood. Identifying and better understanding the individual and system factors contributing to these errors is required to inform targeted strategies.
OBJECTIVES: To explore palliative care clinicians' perceptions of the factors contributing to opioid errors in Australian inpatient palliative care services.
DESIGN: A qualitative study using focus groups or semi-structured interviews.
SETTINGS: Three specialist palliative care inpatient services in New South Wales, Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: Inpatient palliative care clinicians who are involved with, and/or have oversight of, the services' opioid delivery or quality and safety processes.
METHODS: Deductive thematic content analysis of the qualitative data. The Yorkshire Contributory Factors Framework was applied to identify error-contributing factors.
FINDINGS: A total of 58 clinicians participated in eight focus groups and 20 semi-structured interviews. Nine key error contributory factor domains were identified, including: active failures; task characteristics of opioid preparation; clinician inexperience; sub-optimal skill mix; gaps in support from central functions; the drug preparation environment; and sub-optimal clinical communication.
CONCLUSION:: This study identified multiple system-level factors contributing to opioid errors in inpatient palliative care services. Any quality and safety initiatives targeting safe opioid delivery in specialist palliative care services needs to consider the full range of contributing factors, from individual to systems/latent factors, which promote error-causing conditions.
PURPOSE: High-strength opioid formulations were delisted (removed) from Ontario's public drug formulary in January 2017, except for palliative patients. We evaluated the impact of this policy on opioid utilization and dosing.
METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal study among patients receiving publicly funded, high-strength opioids from August 2016 to July 2017. The primary outcome measure was weekly median daily opioid dose (in milligrams of morphine or equivalent; MME) of (1) publicly funded and (2) all opioid prescriptions irrespective of funding source, evaluated using interrupted time series analyses and stratified by palliative care status.
RESULTS: Following policy implementation, the weekly median daily dose of publicly funded opioids decreased immediately among non-palliative patients by 10 MME (95% confidence limit [CL], -16.8 to -3.1) from a pre-intervention dose of 424.5 MME (95% CL, 417.8-431.2) and fell gradually among palliative patients by 3.9 MME per week (95% CL, -5.5 to -2.3) from a pre-intervention dose of 450.1 MME (95% CL, 432.5-467.7). In contrast, among all opioid prescriptions, gradual reductions in weekly median daily doses were observed only for non-palliative patients, which decreased by 0.7 MME per week (95% CL, -1.3 to -0.2) from a pre-intervention dose of 426.2 MME (95% CL, 420.9-431.5).
CONCLUSION: The delisting of publicly-funded, high-strength opioids was accompanied by changes in funding source and small reductions in the weekly median daily doses dispensed. Although observed dose reductions of less than 1 MME weekly are likely not clinically relevant, safety implications of these changes require further monitoring.
BACKGROUND: Methadone may play a role in the control of refractory cancer pain in opioid switching, although some cases fail to switch to methadone.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the differences in the clinical aspects in switching to methadone between successful cases (SCs) and unsuccessful cases (UCs).
DESIGN: This was a retrospective study of the clinical aspects of cancer patients who experienced opioid switching from other opioids to methadone.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Eighty-seven patients who were prescribed oral methadone in our hospital were analyzed. Methadone was initiated from other opioids due to refractory pain in the stop-and-go switching. Among the 87 cases, 7 cases were excluded from further analysis because methadone administration was stopped due to vomiting or self-cessation within six days from switching.
RESULTS: Among the 80 cases who had methadone for seven days or more, 70 cases (SCs) were successful in switching to methadone, according to the Japanese definition, although 10 cases (UCs) who experienced the rapid progression of illness failed due to oral difficulty in the course of titration. In comparison of the clinical characteristics between SCs and UCs, the number of days alive from the start of the administration of methadone was significantly greater in the SCs than in the UCs (SCs: 87.1, UCs: 19, p < 0.0001), but no significant differences were observed for any other factors.
CONCLUSION: From this comparative retrospective study of opioid switching to methadone for cancer pain control between SCs and UCs, early switching to methadone may be useful for patients with advanced cancer pain.
With the increasing prevalence of the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in patients with end-stage cardiomyopathies, an increasing number of these patients are dying of noncardiac conditions. It is likely that the palliative care clinician will have an ever-increasing role in managing end of life for patients with LVADs, including discontinuation of LVAD support. There exists a paucity of literature describing strategies for effective delivery of palliative care in patients requesting discontinuation of LVAD therapy. Here, we present a case of a patient with metastatic cancer who requested LVAD discontinuation. Because of practical concerns and patient preference, the patient did not have intravenous (IV) access and medications requiring IV administration could not be used. Therefore, a strategy using intranasal midazolam and sufentanil was applied, the LVAD was deactivated, and the patient died comfortably. This case is, to our knowledge, the first to describe a strategy for delivery of palliative care in patients requesting discontinuation of LVAD support, particularly in the absence of IV access. Such a strategy may be applicable to patients wishing to die at home, and therefore allow greater latitude for patients and clinicians in their approach to the end of life.