8 clinical signs associated with impending death in patients with cancer identified
the ONA take:
According to a new study published in the journal Cancer, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, have identified eight highly specific cognitive and physical signs associated with impending death in patients with cancer.
For the prospective study, researchers identified 357 patients with cancer admitted to palliative care units at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Barretos Cancer Hospital in Brazil. Of those patients, 57% died.
The team observed 52 cognitive and physical signs twice daily from the time of admission to discharge or death. Of those, researchers were able to identify eight signs that were most highly associated with impending death within 3 days of presentation.
Those signs include: decreased response to verbal stimuli, inability to close eyelids, nonreactive pupils, decreased response to visual stimuli, neck hyperextension, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, drooping of the nasolabial fold, and grunting of vocal cords.
The researchers note that although this information will not alter clinical practice, it may be helpful knowing that death is imminent so that caregivers can plan appropriately.
The authors also stress that these findings should only be applied to patients with cancer and not to other causes of death.
Researchers identified eight highly specific cognitive and physical signs associated with impending death in patients with cancer.
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