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Cancers 2016, 8(9), 84; doi:10.3390/cancers8090084

Antibiotic Treatment in End-of-Life Cancer Patients—A Retrospective Observational Study at a Palliative Care Center in Sweden

1
ASIH Stockholm Södra, Långbro Park, Palliative Home Care and Hospice Ward, Bergtallsvägen 12, 125 59 Älvsjö, Sweden
2
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Breast Centre, Department of Surgery, Capio St. Gorans Hospital, 112 81 Stockholm, Sweden
4
Department of Oncology/Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Samuel C. Mok
Received: 3 June 2016 / Revised: 30 August 2016 / Accepted: 1 September 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue End-of-Life Cancer Care)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [474 KB, uploaded 6 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to elucidate whether palliative cancer patients benefit from antibiotic treatment in the last two weeks of life when an infection is suspected. Method: We reviewed medical records from 160 deceased palliative cancer patients that had been included in previous studies on vitamin D and infections. Patients treated with antibiotics during the last two weeks of life were identified and net effects of treatment (symptom relief) and possible adverse events were extracted from medical records. Results: Seventy-nine patients (49%) had been treated with antibiotics during the last two weeks in life. In 37% (n = 29), the treatment resulted in evident symptom relief and among these 50% had a positive bacterial culture, 43% had a negative culture and in 7% no culture was taken. Among the patients with no or unknown effect of antibiotics, 50% had a positive culture. When the indication for antibiotic treatment was to avoid or treat sepsis, symptom relief was achieved in 50% of the patients (n = 19). Only 4% (n = 3) of the patients experienced adverse events of the treatment (diarrhea, nausea). Conclusions: Treating infections with antibiotics in the last weeks of life may improve the quality of life for palliative cancer patients, especially if sepsis is suspected or confirmed. According to our results, the beneficial effects outweigh the potentially negative outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: infections; antibiotics; palliative care; hospice care; cancer; CRP; immune system; vitamin D infections; antibiotics; palliative care; hospice care; cancer; CRP; immune system; vitamin D
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MDPI and ACS Style

Helde-Frankling, M.; Bergqvist, J.; Bergman, P.; Björkhem-Bergman, L. Antibiotic Treatment in End-of-Life Cancer Patients—A Retrospective Observational Study at a Palliative Care Center in Sweden. Cancers 2016, 8, 84.

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