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Indian J Palliat Care. 2013 Jan;19(1):40-7. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.110236.

Palliative Sedation in Advanced Cancer Patients: Does it Shorten Survival Time? - A Systematic Review.

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  • 1Department of Pain and Palliative Care, St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bangalore, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with advanced cancer often suffer from multiple refractory symptoms in the terminal phase of their life. Palliative sedation is one of the few ways to relieve this refractory suffering.

OBJECTIVES:

This systematic review investigated the effect of palliative sedation on survival time in terminally ill cancer patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Six electronic databases were searched for both prospective and retrospective studies which evaluated the effect of palliative sedation on survival time. Only those studies which had a comparison group that did not receive palliative sedation were selected for the review. Abstracts of all retrieved studies were screened to include the most relevant studies and only studies which met inclusion criteria were selected. References of all retrieved studies were also screened for relevant studies. Selected studies were assessed for quality and data extraction was done using the structured data extraction form.

RESULTS:

Eleven studies including four prospective and seven retrospective studies were identified. Mean survival time (MST) was measured as the time from last admission until death. A careful analysis of the results of all the 11 studies indicated that MST of sedated and non-sedated group was not statistically different in any of the studies.

CONCLUSION:

This systematic review supports the fact that palliative sedation does not shorten survival in terminally ill cancer patients. However, this conclusion needs to be taken with consideration of the methodology, study design, and the population studied of the included studies in this review.

KEYWORDS:

Intractable symptoms; Palliative sedation; Survival time; Terminally ill

PMID:
23766594
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3680838
Free PMC Article

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