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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2018 Aug;35(8):1069-1075. doi: 10.1177/1049909118765405. Epub 2018 Mar 26.

Early Palliative Care for Patients With Brain Metastases Decreases Inpatient Admissions and Need for Imaging Studies.

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1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, USA.
2 Department of Neurosurgery, NYU Medical School, New York, USA.
3 Department of Population Health, NYU Medical School, New York, USA.
4 Department of Medicine, NYU Medical School, New York, USA.



Early encounters with palliative care (PC) can influence health-care utilization, clinical outcome, and cost.


To study the effect of timing of PC encounters on brain metastasis patients at an academic medical center.


All patients diagnosed with brain metastases from January 2013 to August 2015 at a single institution with inpatient and/or outpatient PC records available for review (N = 145).


Early PC was defined as having a PC encounter within 8 weeks of diagnosis with brain metastases; late PC was defined as having PC after 8 weeks of diagnosis. Propensity score matched cohorts of early (n = 46) and late (n = 46) PC patients were compared to control for differences in age, gender, and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) at diagnosis. Details of the palliative encounter, patient outcomes, and health-care utilization were collected.


Early PC versus late PC patients had no differences in baseline KPS, age, or gender. Early PC patients had significantly fewer number of inpatient visits per patient (1.5 vs 2.9; P = .004), emergency department visits (1.2 vs 2.1; P = .006), positron emission tomography/computed tomography studies (1.2 vs 2.7, P = .005), magnetic resonance imaging scans (5.8 vs 8.1; P = .03), and radiosurgery procedures (0.6 vs 1.3; P < .001). There were no differences in overall survival (median 8.2 vs 11.2 months; P = .2). Following inpatient admissions, early PC patients were more likely to be discharged home (59% vs 35%; P = .04).


Timely PC consultations are advisable in this patient population and can reduce health-care utilization.


brain metastasis; health-care utilization; palliative care; stereotactic radiosurgery; whole brain radiation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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