Intensive care unit utilization among patients with cancer at the end of life
Over the last 2 decades, survival rates in critically ill cancer patients have improved. Despite the increase in survival, the intensive care unit (ICU) continues to be a location where end-of-life care takes place. More than 20% of deaths in the United States occur after admission to an ICU, and as baby boomers reach the seventh and eighth decades of their lives, the volume of patients in the ICU is predicted to rise. The aim of this study was to evaluate intensive care unit utilization among patients with cancer who were at the end of life. End of life was defined using decedent and high-risk cohort study designs. The decedent study evaluated characteristics and ICU utilization during the terminal hospital stay among patients who died at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center during 2003-2007. The high-risk cohort study evaluated characteristics and ICU utilization during the index hospital stay among patients admitted to MD Anderson during 2003-2007 with a high risk of in-hospital mortality. Factors associated with higher ICU utilization in the decedent study included non-local residence, hematologic and non-metastatic solid tumor malignancies, malignancy diagnosed within 2 months, and elective admission to surgical or pediatric services. Having a palliative care consultation on admission was associated with dying in the hospital without ICU services. In the cohort of patients with high risk of in-hospital mortality, patients who went to the ICU were more likely to be younger, male, with newly diagnosed non-metastatic solid tumor or hematologic malignancy, and admitted from the emergency center to one of the surgical services. A palliative care consultation on admission was associated with a decreased likelihood of having an ICU stay. There were no differences in ethnicity, marital status, comorbidities, or insurance status between patients who did and did not utilize ICU services. Inpatient mortality probability models developed for the general population are inadequate in predicting in-hospital mortality for patients with cancer. The following characteristics that differed between the decedent study and high-risk cohort study can be considered in future research to predict risk of in-hospital mortality for patients with cancer: ethnicity, type and stage of malignancy, time since diagnosis, and having advance directives. Identifying those at risk can precipitate discussions in advance to ensure care remains appropriate and in accordance with the wishes of the patient and family.
Health care management|Oncology
Wallace, Susannah Kish, "Intensive care unit utilization among patients with cancer at the end of life" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3565265.