Hospice and palliative care for the terminal patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

간세포암 환자의 호스피스 완화 의료

  • Published : 2007.10.01


Purpose: Hepatocellular carcinoma is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in Korea and its prognosis is very poor. We aimed to investigate the clinical characteristics of terminal patients with hepatocellular carcinoma on admission into a hospice unit, and to know if they had received appropriate hospice and palliative care. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records in 62 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who had admitted, received palliative care, and died in a hospice unit between January 2003 and December 2005. Results: The median age of patients was 56.5 years with 50 men(80.65%) and 12 women(19.35%) and gender ratio(male to female) was 417. Child-Pugh class A, B, and C were 6(9.68%), 22(35.38%), and 34(58.84%) respectively. We divided the patients into two groups and compared, the terminal HCC patients with class C as group I and those with class A & B as group 2. The median time from hospice referral to death was significantly short in group 1 with 15.5 days compared to group 2 with 53 days. Statistically more prevalent symptoms in group I were ascites, dyspnea, peripheral edema, and hepatic encephalopathy with abnormal laboratory findings (jaundice, hypoalbuminemia, or renal insufficiency). There, however, was no significant difference in complications and managements during admission between group 1 and 2. Conclusion: Most terminal HCC patients were often accompanied with chronic liver disease. The length of hospice and palliative care for above patients was not enough to attend them. Therefore, we suggest that proper education and information should be provided to physicians, patients, and their family members for effective hospice and palliative care.