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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Oct-Dec;25(4):539-543. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_59_19.

Aggressive Care at the End of Life; Where Are We?

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Department of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Zagazig University, Egypt.
Oncology Center, King Salman Armed Forces Hospital, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Clinical Oncology, Zagazig University, Egypt.
Department of Clinical Oncology, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Clinical Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Egypt.



Although, efforts to encourage palliative care only for terminal patients, aggressive end-of-life care (EOL) care still common for those probably to die shortly.


Multicenter experiences to investigate where did we stand in this era?

Patients and Methods:

A retrospective study included patients with advanced solid tumors. The presence of one or more of the following indicators in the last month of life (LM) referred to aggressive EOL care: emergency department (ED) visits ≥ twice, admission to the hospital through ED, death in critical care units (CCUs), and palliative chemotherapy (PC) at the past 2 weeks before death.


A total of 435 patients, 51.5% were men with a median age of 62 years (range: 17-108), were included in the study. Most of the patients (89.2%) belonged to Group II; they had attended ED at least twice (60%), approximately 53% admitted to the hospital through ED, 31% received PC-LM with 41% of them had at the past 2 weeks before death, 13% died in the CCUs, and more than half of them (53%) survived <2 weeks. Kaplan-Meier estimator revealed that median survival was 30 days in Group I versus 13 days in Group II (odds ratio: 1.63; 95% confidence interval: 1.20-2.21; P = 0.002). The median survival was statistically significantly associated with PC-LM ≥14 days and the admission mode. There was no statistically significant association with age, sex, and primary cancer sites.


The majority of our patients continue with anticancer treatments they possibly do not need and associated with poor survival.


End-of-life care; palliative chemotherapy; the good death

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