Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, End of Life Care / 06.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_16091" align="alignleft" width="200"]Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York Dr. Holly Prigerson[/caption] Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medicine New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Prigerson: Patients need to know their prognosis to be informed consumers of end-stage cancer care. We found that most patients have an overly optimistic view of their life-expectancy and that few patients base their life expectancy estimate on communications with their healthcare providers. It was striking that 0% of black patients said their prognostic estimate was based on a medical professional.
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 24.03.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wouter R. Verberne Koekoekslaan 1 The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Dr. Verberne: The number of older patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is increasing worldwide. When ESRD is approaching, patients need to be advised on the renal replacement therapy (RRT) necessary to remove toxic products and fluid from the body when their own kidneys are no longer able to do so. ESRD can be treated with kidney transplantation, hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. With increasing technical possibilities and with the widespread availability of dialysis treatment, age no longer limits dialysis treatment. It has been questioned whether older patients with ESRD, who often have multiple comorbidities, are likely to benefit from renal replacement therapy. Dialysis treatment comes with high treatment burden. Generally patients are treated in a dialysis facility 3 times per week, 3 to 4 hours per time. Patients with an anticipated poor prognosis on RRT may choose to forego dialysis and decide to be treated conservatively instead. Conservative management (CM) entails ongoing care with full medical treatment, including control of fluid and electrolyte balance and correcting anemia, and provision of appropriate palliative and end of life care. Shared decision making has been recommended to come to a joint decision on   renal replacement therapy by considering potential benefits and harms of all treatment options and the patient’s preferences. Data on outcomes, including survival and quality of life, are needed to foster the decision making. However, adequate survival data, specifically on older patients, are limited. A number of studies, predominantly from the United Kingdom, have determined survival of older patients managed conservatively compared with renal replacement therapy. In these studies, the numbers of recruited patients are generally small, the studies are performed in heterogeneous study populations, and there is significant variability in starting points used in survival analyses. We performed the first Dutch study in a large series of older patients slowly approaching ESRD, enabling the use of several starting points in survival analyses. The aims of the study were to compare survival in patients with ESRD ages ≥ 70 years old choosing either conservative management or renal replacement therapy and determine predictors of survival. 
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.08.2014

Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College 1404 Baker Pavilion, New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital  New York City, New York 10065 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Prigerson: That there are strikingly different preferences for end-of-life care based on a patient's race/ethnicity and in rates of do not resuscitate order completion.  Regardless of what those preferences are, however, they significantly influence the likelihood of completing a do not resuscitate order (dnr) across racial/ethnic groups.
Author Interviews, BMJ, End of Life Care / 21.08.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julian Mausbach RA Geschäftsführer Kompetenzzentrum Medizin - Ethik - Recht Helvetiae Zürich, Switzerland Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: 611 cases of suicide tourism were found in the canton of Zurich between 2008 and 2012. More than half of the suicide tourists were women with a median age of 69 years. After an initial decrease in 2009, cases of suicide tourism increased from then on onwards and doubled in 2012. The underlying diseases varied considerably. Main reasons for the assisted suicide were neurological diseases, followed by cancer, rheumatic diseases. Approximately one third of the study population had more than one disease.
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Heart Disease / 21.05.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Colleen K. McIlvennan, DNP, ANP Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Colorado, Division of Cardiology                             Section of Advanced Heart Failure and TransplantationMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Colleen K. McIlvennan, DNP, ANP Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Colorado, Division of Cardiology Section of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation   MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We interviewed 22 patients who were offered destination therapy left ventricular assist devices (DT LVAD), 15 with DT LVADs and 7 who declined. We found a strong dichotomy between decision processes with some patients (11 accepters) being automatic and others (3 accepters, 7 decliners) being reflective in their approach to decision making. The automatic group was characterized by a fear of dying and an overriding desire to live as long as possible: [LVAD] was the only option I had…that or push up daisies…so I automatically took this. In contrast, the reflective group went through a reasoned process of weighing risks, benefits, and burdens: There are worse things than death. Irrespective of approach, most patients experienced the DT LVAD decision as a highly emotional process and many sought support from their families or spiritually.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, End of Life Care / 05.03.2014

Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Co-Director, Center for End-of-Life Research Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Co-Director, Center for End-of-Life Research Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Prigerson: The main outcome of the research was end-of-life treatment and location of death with secondary outcomes being length of survival, late hospice referrals and attainment of preferred place of death. We found that 56 percent of patients receiving palliative chemotherapy in their final months.  Patients treated with palliative chemotherapy were five to 10 times more likely to receive intensive medical care and to die in an intensive care unit (ICU). Fewer than half died at home as compared with two-thirds of patients with metastatic cancer not treated with palliative chemotherapy. More specifically, we found that palliative chemotherapy was associated with:
  • Increased use of CPR and mechanical ventilation: 14% versus 2%
  • Late hospice referral: 54% versus 37%
  • Death in an ICU: 11% versus 2%
  • Death away from home: 47% versus 66%
  • Death away from their preferred place: 65% versus 80%
Survival did not differ significantly between patients who received palliative chemotherapy and those who did not (hazard ratio 1.11, 95% CI 0.90-1.38). Additionally, patients receiving palliative chemotherapy were less likely to acknowledge their illness as terminal (35% versus 49%, P=0.04), to have discussed end-of-life wishes with a physician (37% versus 48%, P=0.03), and to have completed a do-not-resuscitate order (36% versus 49%, P<0.05).