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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1994 Jul;9(5):298-302.

The use of hypodermoclysis for rehydration in terminally ill cancer patients.

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


The need to treat dehydration in terminally ill patients to minimize symptom distress remains a controversial issue. Hypodermoclysis (HDC) is a simple technique for rehydration that offers many advantages over the intravenous route. In this prospective open study of 100 consecutive patients who died on a palliative care unit, we recorded our indications for, and use of, HDC. Of the 100 patients, 69 received HDC for an average of 14 +/- 18 days during an average admission of 35 +/- 41 days. The 31 patients who did not receive HDC had an average admission of 22 +/- 24 days, and appeared to have different characteristics than the HDC group. HDC was well tolerated in most patients at an average volume of 1203 +/- 505 mL/day. These results confirm that HDC for dehydration is a safe and effective technique and suggest the need for further research to clarify the role of rehydration in assisting symptom control.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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