An assessment of aetiology-based guidelines for the management of nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer
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The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of aetiology-based guidelines for the management of nausea and vomiting (N&V) in patients with advanced cancer.
Patients and methods
This was a prospective study of 121 patients admitted to a hospice. Patients with N&V underwent assessments at presentation, 48 h and 1 week, to determine the aetiology of N&V and the response to treatment. Antiemetics were prescribed according to aetiology-based guidelines.
Sixty-one patients (50%) had N&V during their admission: 21 (17%) had isolated nausea, 2 (2%) had isolated vomiting and 38 (31%) had combined N&V. During the assessment period, physicians altered their opinion about the primary cause of N&V in 26% of cases and finally expressed confidence about the aetiology in 75% of patients. The most common cause of N&V was impaired gastric emptying (contributing in 44% of patients), followed by chemical causes (33%) and bowel obstruction (19%). At 1 week, nausea was controlled in 56% of patients, and vomiting in 89% of patients, and residual symptoms were generally mild.
An approach using aetiology-based guidelines in the management of N&V is moderately effective, although there are some patients with N&V refractory to standard antiemetic regimens.
KeywordsNausea Vomiting Antiemetics Neoplasms Palliative care
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