Volume of hydration in terminal cancer patients
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In this retrospective study we reviewed the volume and modality of hydration of consecutive series of terminal cancer patients in two different settings. In a palliative care unit 203/290 admitted patients received subcutaneous hydration for 12 ± 8 days at a daily volume of 1015 ± 135 ml/day. At the cancer center, 30 consecutive similar patients received intravenous hydration for 11.5 ± 5 days (P > 0.2) but at a daily volume of 2080 ± 720 ml/day (P < 0.001). None of the palliative care unit patients required discontinuation of hydration because of complications. Hypodermoclysis was administered mainly as a continuous infusion, an overnight infusion, or in one to three 1-h boluses in 62 (31%), 98 (48%) and 43 (21%) patients, respectively. Our findings suggest that, in some settings, patients may be receiving excessive volumes of hydration by less comfortable routes such as the intravenous route. Increased education and research in this area are badly needed.
Key wordsTerminal cancer Hydration Route of administration
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