Anatomopathological Causes of Death in Patients with Advanced Cancer: Association with the Use of Anticoagulation and Antibiotics at the End of Life.
J Palliat Med. 2013 Jun;16(6):669-674
Authors: Pautex S, Vayne-Bossert P, Jamme S, Herrmann F, Vilarino R, Weber C, Burkhardt K
Abstract Background: Anatomopathological studies that described the immediate causes of death of patients with advanced cancer were first published approximately 20 years ago. Objective: Our objective was to analyze if causes of death changed with a wider use of broad spectrum antibiotics and prophylactic anticoagulation. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all patients with an advanced cancer hospitalized in the Division of Palliative Medicine at the University Hospital Geneva from 2004 to 2010 who had an autopsy. Results: Two hundred forty patients were included (130 men, mean age: 74±13). Main causes of death discovered at the autopsy were pulmonary infection (n=131; 55%), advanced cancer (n=39; 16%), pulmonary infection together with pulmonary embolism (PE) (n=27; 12%), PE alone (n=22; 9%), cardiac complications (n=19; 5%) and others (n=2; 1%). In a logistic regression model, with adjusting for age, gender, main diagnosis, comorbidities, blood count, corticosteroids, and antibiotics, there were no independent factors associated with pulmonary infection at autopsy. In a similar model, with adjusting for age, gender, main diagnosis, comorbidities, and anticoagulation, the only independent factor associated with PE at autopsy was the history of thrombo-embolic disease and therapeutic anticoagulation. Conclusion: The results of this retrospective study demonstrate that causes of death did not change with the modification of our practice. The high rate of pulmonary infection and embolism in this population, including in patients who received broad spectrum and prophylactic anticoagulation should encourage us to pursue other prospective studies to actually demonstrate the benefit of these treatments in this population.
PMID: 23725234 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]