Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cancer Patients Turning up in Emergency Departments with Delirium Likely to Die Earlier


According to a new study published in The Oncologist, patients with advanced cancer who are diagnosed with delirium when turning up in emergency departments are more likely to be admitted to hospital and more likely to die earlier than patients without delirium. This shows the importance of accurately diagnosing delirium in advanced cancer patients, says lead author Ahmed Elsayem at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, even though delirium can easily be missed in busy emergency departments.

In patients with advanced cancer, delirium can be caused by various different factors. “Advanced cancer itself is a major cause, and other problems such as medications or infection are triggers that can precipitate the full blown syndrome,” explains Elsayem. Previous studies have shown that delirium is associated with poor survival in advanced cancer patients being treated in intensive care units (ICUs) or receiving palliative care in hospices, but no one had investigated whether the same was true for those reporting to emergency departments.

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