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Cancer Nurs. 1998 Dec;21(6):385-93.

Acute oral pain and mucositis in bone marrow transplant and leukemia patients: data from a pilot study.

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  • 1Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Abstract

The purposes of this prospective, repeated-measures descriptive pilot study were to describe patterns of acute oral pain and mucositis in patients receiving a bone marrow transplant or high-dose chemotherapy for leukemia, and to test procedures and instruments before initiating a larger intervention study. A nonprobability, purposive selection process was used to enroll 18 patients admitted to two acute care inpatient hospital units for bone marrow transplantation or leukemia therapy at a university health sciences center in the southeastern United States. Data were collected at baseline, then daily through patient interviews, oral examination, and chart review for at least 3 weeks or until discharge. Research variables were pain intensity, intolerable pain, verbal descriptors of pain, pain relief, and use of pain relief strategies (Pain Assessment Form), mucositis (erythema and ulceration) in eight anatomic locations of the oral cavity (Oral Mucositis Index), voice/talking (Oral Assessment Guide), and mood states (11-item Brief Profile of Mood States). Mild to moderate pain occurred in nearly 70% of patients and was described as "tender," "irritating," and "sore." Patients used pain medicines, mouth care, and mental and physical activities to relieve pain, and reported partial overall relief of pain. Mucositis was mild, with the tongue and buccal and labial mucosa most commonly affected with erythema and the buccal mucosa with ulceration. Voice/talking were only mildly impaired, and mood disturbance was mild. Patterns of pain, mucositis, and mood disturbance were consistent with each other and followed the trajectory described in previous research. Results suggest that nurses should continue to assess these symptoms vigorously and assist patients in selecting multiple management strategies. Research using repeated-measures designs in this acutely ill inpatient population is challenging and needs careful attention by researchers. The results have been used to improve the ongoing larger intervention study.

PMID:
9848996
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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