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Palliat Med. 2008 Dec;22(8):938-48. doi: 10.1177/0269216308096906. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

Daily symptom burden in end-stage chronic organ failure: a systematic review.

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Central Department of Treatment and Care, Proteion Thuis, Horn, The Netherlands.


Chronic diseases are nowadays the major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Patients with end-stage chronic organ failure may suffer daily from distressful physical and psychological symptoms. The objective of the present study is to systematically review studies that examined daily symptom prevalence in patients with end-stage chronic organ failure, with attention to those that included patients with either congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or chronic renal failure (CRF). Thirty-nine articles (8 CHF, 7 COPD, 2 CHF and COPD, 22 CRF) have been included. The included studies used various study designs. There was a wide range of daily symptom prevalence that may be due to the heterogeneity in methodology used. Nevertheless, findings suggest significant symptom burden in these patients. This review highlights the need for further prospective and longitudinal research on symptom prevalence in patients with end-stage CHF, COPD and CRF to facilitate the development of patient-centred palliative care programs.

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