Korean J Fam Pract. 2016; 6(3): 160-165  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2016.6.3.160
The Characteristics of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients Who Expired within 72 Hours after Admission to a Hospice
So Jung Yun, Jung Im Gwak*, Hyun Jung Choi, Jun Seob Shin, Ji Wan Nam, Hyung Joon An
Department of Family Medicine, Anyang SAM General Hospital, Anyang, Korea
Jung Im Gwak
Tel: +82-31-467-9161, Fax: +82-31-449-0151
E-mail: euridiche@hanmail.net
Received: March 15, 2016; Accepted: March 31, 2016; Published online: June 20, 2016.
© The Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Background: If the length of survival in hospice is too short, terminally ill cancer patients are unable to receive sufficient end-of-life care. However, many patients in hospices die within a relatively short period after admission. The characteristics of the patients who die early in hospice have not been studied; thus, we examined the clinical symptoms and characteristics of the patients who died within 72 hours after admission to a hospice unit in Anyang.

Methods: We examined 82 terminally ill cancer patients who died within 72 hours after admission to the hospice unit, and 77 patients who survived for 21?28 days in the same unit, who served as the control group, from January 2010 to March 2015. We examined the baseline, clinical, and laboratory characteristics of the patients by performing a chi-square test for the univariate analysis and binary logistic regression for the multivariate analysis.

Results: The median length of survival was 2.11 days (standard deviation, 0.703 days). The multivariate analysis showed that the patients who died within 72 hours showed an increased prevalence of resting dyspnea (P=0.03), decreased consciousness to drowsy mentality (P=0.021), and decreased systolic blood pressure (<90 mmHg; P=0.005). Moreover, the multivariate analysis for the laboratory characteristics revealed increased serum creatinine (P<0.001) and total bilirubin (P=0.011) levels in these patients.

Conclusion: The patients who died within 72 hours following admission to the hospice showed an increased prevalence of resting dyspnea, drowsy mentality, decreased systolic blood pressure (<90 mmHg), and increased serum creatinine and total bilirubin levels.

Keywords: Hospice Care; Terminally Ill; Neoplasms; Early Death
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