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San Salvatore di Fitalia, Italy

Mercadante S.,Pain Relief and Supportive Care Unit | Aielli F.,University of LAquila | Aielli F.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Adile C.,Pain Relief and Supportive Care Unit | And 10 more authors.
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2015

Background: Oral symptoms can be a sign of an underlying systemic condition and have a significant impact on quality of life, nutrition, and cost of care, while these lesions are often studied in the context of cancer treatment. However, information regarding oral symptoms in advanced cancer patients is poor. The aim of this multicenter study was to determine the prevalence and the characteristics of oral symptoms in a large population of advanced cancer patients. Methods: A consecutive sample of patients with advanced cancer for a period of 6 months was prospectively assessed for an observational study. At time of admission, the epidemiological characteristics, surgery-radiotherapy of head and neck, and oncologic treatments in the last month were recorded. The presence of mucositis, dry mouth, and dysphagia was assessed by clinical examination and patients’ report and their intensity recorded. Patients were also asked whether they had limitation on nutrition of hydration due to the local condition. Results: Six hundred sixty-nine patients were surveyed in the period taken into consideration. The mean age was 72.1 years (SD 12.3), and 342 patients were males. The primary tumors are listed in Table 1. The prevalence of mucositis was 22.3 %. The symptom relevantly reduced the ingestion of food or fluids and was statistically associated with the Karnofsky level and head and neck cancer. The prevalence of dry mouth was 40.4 %, with a mean intensity of 5.4 (SD 2.1). Several drugs were concomitantly given, particularly opioids (78 %), corticosteroids (75.3 %), and diuretics (70.2 %). Various and nonhomogeneous treatments were given for dry mouth, that was statistically associated with current or recent chemotherapy, and hematological tumors. The prevalence of dysphagia was 15.4 % with a mean intensity of 5.34 (SD 3). Dysphagia for liquids was observed in 52.4 % of cases. A high level of limitation for oral nutrition due to dysphagia was found, and in 53.4 % of patients, alternative routes to the oral one were used. Dysphagia was statistically associated with the Karnofsky level and head and neck cancer. A strong relationship between the three oral symptoms was found. Conclusion: In advanced cancer patients, a range of oral problems significantly may impact on the physical, social, and psychological well-being of advanced cancer patients to varying degrees. These symptoms should be carefully assessed early but become imperative in the palliative care setting when they produce relevant consequences that may be life-threatening other than limiting the daily activities, particularly eating and drinking. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Porzio G.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Aielli F.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Verna L.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Martella F.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | And 2 more authors.
Tumori | Year: 2013

Aim. To evaluate the efficacy of a home care program, closely integrated with a medical oncology department. Patients and methods. The charts, prospectively recorded, of all the patients treated at home by the "L'Aquila per la Vita" Home Care Unit from August 2006 to December 2011, were reviewed. The number of patients, home accesses, length of the home care, hospital admission, emergency calls, and the place of death were recorded. Data were analyzed considering the origin of the patients (medical oncology department or other). Results. A total of 461 patients was followed at home for a total of 10,503 home accesses (median accesses/patient, 20; range, 1-159). The median length of home care was 76 days (range, 2-643 days). The median was 101 days for patients coming from the medical oncology department and 53 days for patients coming from other origins (P <0.0005). There were 428 emergency calls (4.1% of all the home accesses). Emergency calls accounted for 253 of 7,364 home accesses (3.4%) among patients coming from the medical oncology department and for 175 of 3,139 home accesses (5.6%) among patients coming from other origins (P = 0.00005). Eighty of 461 patients (17.3%) required one in-hospital admission and 19/461 patients (4.1%) more than one. Fifty-nine of 259 (17.8%) patients coming from the medical oncology department and 40 of 186 (26.9%) coming from other origins required in-hospital admissions (P = 0.04). A total of 311 patients died (163 coming from the medical oncology department and 148 from other origins). Twentyeight of 163 (17.1%) coming from the medical oncology department and 52 of 148 (35.1%) coming from other origins died in the hospital (P = 0.0002). Conclusions. A multidisciplinary and expert team, closely integrated with the hospital, can guarantee a long length of home care, avoiding hospitalization and closing the gap between the patients' preferences and the services offered regarding the place of death. © - Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore downloaded by ELSEVIER BV IP. Source


Porzio G.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Porzio G.,University of LAquila | Aielli F.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | Verna L.,LAquila per la Vita Home Care Unit | And 3 more authors.
Supportive Care in Cancer | Year: 2011

Eleven advanced cancer patients affected by malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) were treated at home with a combination of octreotide, metoclopramide, morphine, and dexamethasone. In all patients, we observed a prompt control of gastrointestinal symptoms and recovery of bowel movements within 1-5 days. Based on our results, a combination of drugs with different mechanisms of action allows an effective and safe treatment for MBO at home. Further studies with larger number of patients are warranted to confirm these preliminary data. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

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