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Palliat Med. 1998 Mar;12(2):75-82.

The use of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) within a palliative care unit in the UK.

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  • 1Department of Palliative Medicine, Royal Marsden NHS Trust, London, UK.


The Edmonton Symptom Assessment scale (ESAS) was used on 1004 occasions to assess 71 patients with advanced malignant disease admitted to a palliative care unit in the UK over a six-week period. The median length of inpatient stay was eight days (range 1-36) and the median survival from start of ESAS to death was 16 days (range 2-202). Across all patients there was a trend towards worsening symptom scores over the first five days from admission with a significant deterioration in appetite scores. When scores were analysed retrospectively over five days according to outcome (death--group 1, or discharge--group 2) there was a significant improvement in pain scores in group 2 but no change in overall score, and a significant deterioration in activity, drowsiness and appetite in group 1 with no change in overall score. ESAS did not seem an appropriate tool in this group of patients as the total symptom scores were so often biased by the inevitable increase in individual symptom scores immediately prior to death.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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