End-of-life care in pediatric neuro-oncology


End-of-life care in pediatric neuro-oncology


Vallero Stefano G; Lijoi S; Bertin D; Pittana LS; Bellini S; Rossi F; Peretta P; Basso ME; Fagioli F



Pediatric Blood & Cancer




brain cancer; end of life; neuro-oncology; supportive therapy


BACKGROUND: The management of children with cancer during the end-of-life (EOL) period is often difficult and requires skilled medical professionals. Patients with tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) with relapse or disease progression might have additional needs because of the presence of unique issues, such as neurological impairment and altered consciousness. Very few reports specifically concerning the EOL period in pediatric neuro-oncology are available. PROCEDURE: Among all patients followed at our center during the EOL, we retrospectively analyzed data from 39 children and adolescents with brain tumors, in order to point out on their peculiar needs. RESULTS: Patients were followed-up for a median time of 20.1 months. Eighty-two percent were receiving only palliative therapy before death. Almost half the patients (44%) died at home, while 56% died in a hospital. Palliative sedation with midazolam was performed in 58% of cases; morphine was administered in 51.6% of cases. No patient had uncontrolled pain. CONCLUSIONS: The EOL in children with advanced CNS cancer is a period of active medical care. Patients may develop complex neurological symptoms and often require long hospitalization. We organized a network-based collaboration among the reference pediatric oncology center, other pediatric hospitals and domiciliary care personnel, with the aim to ameliorate the quality of care during the EOL period. In our cohort, palliative sedation was widely used while no patients died with uncontrolled pain. A precise process of data collection and a better sharing of knowledge are necessary in order to improve the management of such patients. Pediatr Blood Cancer © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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Vallero Stefano G; Lijoi S; Bertin D; Pittana LS; Bellini S; Rossi F; Peretta P; Basso ME; Fagioli F, “End-of-life care in pediatric neuro-oncology,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed March 1, 2024, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/15066.