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Lung Cancer. 2013 May;80(2):203-8. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2012.12.006. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

The lung cancer patient at the emergency department: a three-year retrospective study.

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Service des Soins Intensifs et Urgences Oncologiques and Oncologie Thoracique, Belgium.



Currently, there are limited data on the lung cancer patient at the emergency department. Our objective is to review the medical charts of those patients to determine the frequency and main causes of emergency consultations and the predicting factors for hospital admissions and deaths.


We conducted a retrospective study including all patients with lung cancer consulting at the emergency department of a cancer hospital.


From January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2010, 269 patients with lung cancer presented at the emergency, corresponding to 548 consultations (8.3% of all 6575 visits). During the same period, 626 patients for lung cancer were treated in our institution meaning that 43% of them are consulting at least once the emergency department during the course of their disease. The main reasons for consultation were respiratory symptoms (22.3%) and fever (19.9%). Emergency visit leads to hospital admission in 63% of the cases. In multivariate analysis, the main independent predictor factor of hospitalisation is arrival by ambulance (odd ratio 12), which is also the principal predictor of death during hospitalisation (odd ratio 9.5). The presence of signs at physical examination is also an important factor.


Our study shows that emergency visit is a frequent event for lung cancer patients and has identified simple factors predicting hospitalisation and deaths.

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