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Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Aug;12(8):643-6. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70084-1. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Palliative and end-of-life care in the global response to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

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King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, London, UK, and University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


Multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis is costly, difficult to treat, and poses a global threat to tuberculosis control. The high burden of disease and treatment for patients, poor cure rates, and high mortality bring distress to patients, families, and caregivers. Despite guidance to improve treatment outcomes, little attention has been paid to palliative care of patients and families, such as for physical, psychosocial, social, and spiritual difficulties. An international expert symposium was convened to articulate an appropriate palliative care response for people with MDR tuberculosis. Several policies should be updated to ensure that palliative and end-of-life care is in place alongside treatment should cure be achieved, and to the end of life if not. Many services have been developed that exemplify integrated palliative care (ie, provided from within existing tuberculosis care). We recommend that existing expertise within palliative care can be used, which will improve management of problems such as dyspnoea, cachexia, and haemoptysis for patients across care settings, including at home, and enhance performance of control programmes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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