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Gynecol Oncol. 1991 Apr;41(1):88-91.

A technique for managing terminally ill ovarian carcinoma patients.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 20307.


A patient with terminal ovarian carcinoma was admitted with malnutrition, abdominopelvic pain, and an inoperable complete small bowel obstruction after failing standard therapy and several experimental regimens for her disease. Despite this serious situation, she had an overall high performance status. Instead of administering intravenous narcotics, providing nasogastric suction, and giving other supportive care to make her apparently imminent death as comfortable as possible, her malnutrition was treated with total parenteral nutrition administered through an indwelling central venous catheter during the night hours only. The pain was successfully treated with an indwelling epidural catheter with the continuous infusion of morphine through a portable pump carried by a shoulder strap. The intestinal obstruction was relieved by a percutaneous endogastric tube which drained spontaneously into a leg bag. This regimen allowed the patient complete daytime mobility. She remained active, largely at home, with slowly progressing tumor until her death 9 months after the institution of this supportive care.

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