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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1995 May;10(4):287-91.

Changing pattern of agitated impaired mental status in patients with advanced cancer: association with cognitive monitoring, hydration, and opioid rotation.

Author information

1
Palliative Care Program, Edmonton General Hospital, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

In late 1990, it became standard practice at the palliative care unit of the Edmonton General Hospital to regularly administer the Mini-Mental State Questionnaire (MMSQ) and to undertake opioid rotation and hydration upon detection of cognitive failure. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 117 and 162 patients admitted in 1988-1989 and 1991-1992, respectively, to assess the impact of these maneuvers on the prevalence of agitated impaired mental status (IMS). All patients underwent regular cognitive assessment in 1991-1992 versus none in 1988-1989. Seventy-three percent of patients received hydration in the second period versus 32% in the first (P < 0.01). The frequency of opioid rotation was also greater in the second period (41% versus 21%, P < 0.001). The incidence of agitated IMS decreased from 26% in 1988-1989 to 10% in 1991-1992 (P < 0.001). This was reflected by a lower mean dose of the major drug used to treat this condition, haloperidol (3.6 +/- 2.4 versus 5.6 +/- 3.8 mg/day, P < 0.01), and less frequent use of other neuroleptics and benzodiazepines (0.12 versus 0.38 prescriptions per patient, P < 0.01) in the second period. Our data suggest that routine cognitive monitoring, opioid rotation, and hydration may reduce the incidence of agitated IMS in terminal cancer patients.

PMID:
7602179
DOI:
10.1016/0885-3924(95)00005-J
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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