Symptoms, Quality of Life May Improve During Hospitalization for Acute Leukemia

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Functional status, physical/mental health, fatigue, sleep quality, anxiety, pain intensity, and leukemia-specific QOL were measured in this study.
Functional status, physical/mental health, fatigue, sleep quality, anxiety, pain intensity, and leukemia-specific QOL were measured in this study.
The following article features coverage from the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society's Annual Conference in Washington, DC. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor's conference coverage. 

WASHINGTON, DC — Patients with acute leukemia receiving induction therapy experience significant improvements in functional status and quality of life (QOL) from baseline to discharge, according to findings presented at the 2018 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress.

“There is a high risk for symptom toxicity, those being fatigue, anxiety, and depression, “ said Ashley Bryant, PhD, RN, “and we know that as oncology nurses that symptom management is the foundation and cornerstone of how we care for these patients. It's important to gather information from the patients, such as patient reported outcomes, which come directly from the patient.”

The investigators conducted a prospective, longitudinal study at Duke Cancer Institute and UNC Healthcare for which they enrolled 55 hospitalized adults with acute leukemia, using common data elements, such as the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). Patients completed various assessments at admission and weekly until discharge; functional status, physical/mental health, fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, pain intensity, and leukemia-specific QOL were measured. 

Of the study patients, 49 completed the assessments and had a mean length of hospital stay of 34.8 days. 

Results demonstrated that patients experienced significant improvements in nearly all measured domains by discharge, which Dr Bryant said “might be attributable to the patient's increased understanding of the disease process, familiarity with the nursing and medical staff, and an ability to express their concerns.” The only outcome that did not improve was pain. 

Further analysis showed that physical health and fatigue remained stable for the duration of patients' hospital stays, but significantly improved near discharge; the authors noted this may possibly be due to count recovery. 

Dr Bryant concluded that “future work investigating the long term effects of intensive chemotherapy on acute leukemia survivors greater than 2 years post treatment is needed to elucidate symptoms, functional status, and QOL patterns over time.”


Bryant A, Gosselin T, Coffman E, Phillips B, Fowler-Gray T, Knafi G. Symptoms, functional status, and quality of life of adults with acute leukemia during induction treatment: a longitudinal examination. Oral presentation at: ONS 43rd Annual Congress; May 17-20, 2018; Washington, DC.

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