Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 2895–2902 | Cite as

Dying of hematologic patients—treatment characteristics in a German University Hospital

  • Patrick BrückEmail author
  • Malgorzata Pierzchlewska
  • Marta Kaluzna-Oleksy
  • Maria Elizabeth Ramos Lopez
  • Mathias Rummel
  • Dieter Hoelzer
  • Angelika Böhme
Original Article


The treatment of hematologic patients in palliative situations remains a major challenge as there are special clinical needs, e.g., transfusions and the high risk for infectious complications with subsequent use of broad anti-infective treatment. Furthermore, most hematologic patients have a relatively long history of disease and are acquainted with “their” wards; that is why most are treated on these hematologic and not on specialized palliative wards. The standardized approach to the care of hematologic patients with curative treatment intention is probably not fully appropriate for palliative patients. In order to evaluate the current situation of treatment characteristics in a German university hospital, we retrospectively evaluated the medical documentation of all patients who died on a hematologic ward between 2005 and 2008. While we found a high number of chemotherapeutic, anti-infective, analgesic, and sedative treatments, of transfusions, of treatment on the intensive care units, and of invasive nature, non-somatic interventions were rather scarce. Symptom control, e.g., for bleeding events or pain, was frequently not adequately achieved. With regard to the palliative situation, a holistic approach with the maintenance of patients’ autonomy and the preference for dying at home, the treatment of hematologic patients in a palliative situation has to be reconsidered.


Hematology Palliative medicine Treatment characteristics 



We deeply acknowledge our patients and their relatives for their continued trust in us.

Conflict of interest

All authors state that there are no conflicts of interest.

Primary data

Primary data is under full control of the authors, as all data were extracted from the clinical documentation of each patient.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Brück
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  • Malgorzata Pierzchlewska
    • 2
  • Marta Kaluzna-Oleksy
    • 2
  • Maria Elizabeth Ramos Lopez
    • 3
  • Mathias Rummel
    • 1
  • Dieter Hoelzer
    • 2
    • 4
  • Angelika Böhme
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Haematology and OncologyUniversity Hospital of GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Hematology and OncologyUniversity Hospital of Frankfurt a. M.Frankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Endocrinology and DiabetesUniversity Hospital of Frankfurt a. M.Frankfurt am MainGermany
  4. 4.Onkologikum, Frankfurt am MuseumsuferFrankfurt am MainGermany
  5. 5.Department of Hematology and Oncology, Centre of Internal MedicineUniversity Hospital GiessenGiessenGermany

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