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Cancer prognosis data often come from clinical trials which exclude patients with acute illness. For patients with Stage IV cancer and acute illness hospitalization to 1) describe predictors of 60-day mortality and 2) compare documented decision-making for survivors and decedents. Investigators studied a consecutive prospective cohort of patients with Stage IV cancer and acute illness hospitalization. Structured health record and obituary reviews provided data on 60-day mortality (outcome), demographics, health status, and treatment; logistic regression models identified mortality predictors. Four hundred ninety-two patients with Stage IV cancer and acute illness hospitalization had median age of 60.2 (51% female, 38% minority race/ethnicity); 156 (32%) died within 60 days, and median survival for decedents was 28 days. Nutritional insufficiency (odds rato [OR] 1.83), serum albumin (OR 2.15 per 1.0 g/dL), and hospital days (OR 1.04) were associated with mortality; age, gender, race, cancer, and acute illness type were not predictive. On admission, 79% of patients had orders indicating Full Code. During 60-day follow-up, 42% of patients discussed goals of care. Documented goals of care discussions were more common for decedents than survivors (70% vs. 28%, P < 0.001), as were orders for do not resuscitate/do not intubate (68% vs. 24%, P < 0.001), stopping cancer-directed therapy (29% vs. 10%, P < 0.001), specialty Palliative Care (79% vs. 44%, P < 0.001), and Hospice (68% vs. 14%, P < 0.001). Acute illness hospitalization is a sentinel event in Stage IV cancer. Short-term mortality is high; nutritional decline increases risk. For patients with Stage IV cancer, acute illness hospitalization should trigger goals of care discussions. Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Laura C Hanson, Natalie C Ernecoff, Kathryn L Wessell, Feng-Chang Lin, Matthew I Milowsky, Frances A Collichio, William A Wood, Donald L Rosenstein. Mortality Risk for Patients With Stage IV Cancer and Acute Illness Hospitalization. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2021 Apr;61(4):797-804

PMID: 33096216

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