Guidelines for parenteral fluid management for terminal cancer patients

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Abstract

Background

Japan's first guidelines for parenteral fluid management for terminal cancer patients were issued in 2006. These guidelines focused on the fluid levels to administer to patients with a remaining life expectancy of 1–2 months. However, recent refinement of the concept of cachexia is prompting caregivers worldwide to rethink parenteral fluid management for terminal cancer patients.

Objective

Our objective was to develop guidelines for parenteral fluid management for terminal cancer patients with a remaining life expectancy of 1 month, a point when cachexia generally begins to severely adversely affect the body.

Methods

The Japanese Society for Palliative Medicine appointed a Guidelines Working Practitioner Group consisting of a multidisciplinary team of specialists. In response to 26 clinical questions on parenteral fluid management for terminal cancer patients, the Working Group used the Delphi method to reach consensus on the recommendability and evidence level of 89 relevant manuscripts identified through a systematic literature review. The Working Group then had an outside committee reviews the draft guidelines validity before authoring the final version.

Results

The resulting clinically aligned guidelines contain specific recommendations (25 recommendations on physical suffering/remaining life expectancy, 10 nursing-related recommendations and 4 ethical recommendations) assessed using the Delphi method and by an outside committee.

Conclusions

Japanese Society for Palliative Medicine released a revised edition of the Guidelines for Parenteral Fluid Management for Terminal Cancer Patients, which are based on medical evidence and consider the pathologic features of cachexia. We recommend that caregivers carefully evaluate the clinical usefulness of the guidelines.

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