The End Of Life Experience Of Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients

Title

The End Of Life Experience Of Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients

Creator

Hollander SA; Dykes J; Chen S; Barkoff L; Sourkes B; Cohen H; Rosenthal DN; Bernstein D; Kaufman BD

Publisher

Journal Of Pain And Symptom Management

Date

2017

Description

CONTEXT: Despite advances in therapies, many pediatric heart transplant (Htx) recipients will die prematurely. We characterized the circumstances surrounding death in this cohort, including location of death and interventions performed in the final 24 hours. METHODS: We reviewed all patients who underwent Htx at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford, survived hospital discharge, and subsequently died between 7/19/2007-9/13/2015. The primary outcome studied was location of death, characterized as inpatient, outpatient, or emergency department (ED). Circumstances of death (withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, death during resuscitation, or death without resuscitation with/without DNR) and interventions performed in the last 24 hours of life were also analyzed. RESULTS: 23 patients met entry criteria. The median age at death was 12 (range: 2-20) years, and the median time between transplant and death was 2.8 (range: 0.8-11) years. Four (17%) died at home, 3 (13%) in the ED. Sixteen (70%) patients died in the hospital, 14/16 (88%) of whom died in an intensive care unit (ICU). 5/23 (22%) experienced attempted resuscitation. Interventions performed in the last 24 hours of life included intubation (74%), mechanical support (30%), and dialysis (22%). Most patients had a recent outpatient clinical encounter with normal graft function within 60 days of dying. CONCLUSIONS/LESSONS LEARNED: Death in children following Htx often occurs in the inpatient setting, particularly the ICU. Medical interventions, including attempted resuscitation, are common at the end of life. Given the difficulty in anticipating life-threatening events, earlier discussions with patients regarding end-of-life wishes are appropriate, even in those with normal graft function.

Rights

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Citation List Month

March 2017 List

Citation

Hollander SA; Dykes J; Chen S; Barkoff L; Sourkes B; Cohen H; Rosenthal DN; Bernstein D; Kaufman BD, “The End Of Life Experience Of Pediatric Heart Transplant Recipients,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed September 20, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/10858.

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