Non-pain Symptomatic Management in Palliative Care

Non-pain Symptomatic
Management in Palliative Care
 Apply generalized principles of symptom
management to "real world" clinical scenarios
 Choose appropriate management for a variety of
non-pain symptoms that are addressed by palliative
Palliative Care
So, what S/Sx are out there to be addressed?
Nausea & Vomiting**
Ascites/Pleural Effusions
Bowel Obstruction
Hot Flashes
Pressure Ulcers/Wound
Care/Wound Odor
 Bladder Spasms
 Candidiasis
Generally, what are two ways to manage S/Sx?
 Non-pharmacologic/Mechanical
 Pharmacologic
 Routes of Administration
 IV
 IM
 Sub-Q
 Buccal & SL
 TD
 PR
 Intranasal/Inhalation
Principles of Symptom Control
 Four domains of the
human suffering
Principles of Symptom Control
 Do NOT overlook symptomatic management
while focusing on disease-oriented care
e.g. Pleuritic CP & PNA
 When possible, identify the underlying pathophysiology
&/or mechanism
 Symptoms are the patient’s experience of the
 The clinician is obligated to relieve those
 Unrelieved suffering is demoralizing & demeaning
Suffering patients may lose the will to live, become depressed &
withdrawn, & decline more rapidly
Principles of Symptom Control
 Treatment considerations:
Anticipate predictable complications of disease states
Anticipate associated complications of palliative treatments
e.g. poor home support & complex treatment regimens; low income &
medication affordability
Ultimately, patient’s goals of care drive symptomatic management
e.g. opioids & N/V, constipation, sedation, delirium
Evaluate for psychosocial difficulties
e.g. colorectal cancer patients & bowel obstruction; head & neck
cancer patients & sudden exsanguination
e.g. clarity of mind vs. suffering pain
Frequent re-evaluation
Nausea & Vomiting
 Occurs 60-70% of patients with advanced cancer
 Prevention is key: Regular dosing of antiemetics
can often prevent recurrent nausea
Associated with autonomic s/sx, including pallor, cold
sweats, decreased respiratory rate, & sometimes diarrhea
Cardiac rhythm disturbances may occur
Gastric emptying is reduced in the presence of
nausea – don’t assume PO medications will
work, even if there is no vomiting!
Nausea & Vomiting – 4 Inputs
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea & Vomiting – Pharmacologic Treatment
 V.O.M.I.T. acronym
Cholinergic, Histaminic
 Scopolamine, Promethazine
Obstruction of bowel by constipation (NOT mechanical obstruction)
Cholinergic, histaminic, likely 5HT3
 Stimulate myenteric plexus – Senna
DysMotility of the upper gut
Cholinergic, histaminic, 5HT3, 5HT4
 Metoclopramide
Infection, Inflammation
Cholinergic, histaminic, 5HT3, NK1
Toxins stimulating CTZ
Dopamine 2, 5HT3
 Haloperidol, Odansetron, Prochlorperazine
Nausea & Vomiting – Pharmacologic Treatment
Nausea & Vomiting – Non-pharmacologic
 Ginger Root
5HT3 antagonism in animal models
 Measures to enhance gastric emptying and decrease
gastric distention
Liquid diet
Frequent small meals
Foods low in fats & fiber, high in protein
 Measures to minimize other noxious or associated stimuli
Cool foods
Foods with a pleasant appearance & w/o odors
 Acupuncture
At the P6 or pericardium 6 point
Produces vagal modulation & enhances 5HT3RA efficacy
 Cognitive—Behavioral Therapy
Induces muscle relaxation & reverses autonomic arousal that accompanies ALL
Delirium - Definition
Delirium – Subtype Manifestations
 Three subtypes based on arousal levels &
psychomotor behavior
Hyperactive delirium
Hallucinations, agitation, delusions, & disorientation
Hypoactive delirium
Decreased consciousness, somnolence
 In PC, is more common – up to 80%
Mixed-form with alternating features
Delirium - Pathophysiology
Delirium – Risk Factors & Causes
Delirium – Risk Factors & Causes
 Medications are the most common identifiable
causes of delirium in the hospital setting!
 Other common causes:
 Metabolic derangements
 Infections
 CNS pathology
 Drug/alcohol withdrawal
Delirium – Risk Factors & Causes
Delirium – Pharmacologic Treatment
 Benzodiazepines may
cause paradoxical
worsening of symptoms
(possibly by a serotonergic
mechanism) & should not be
used first line
 Use lowest doses possible,
especially with haloperidol as
EPS side effects are dosedependant!
 IV haloperidol may cause
less EPS than PO
 When reaching maximum
dosages of haloperidol, one
option is to add or switch to a
more sedative neuroleptic
Delirium – Non-pharmacologic
 Experienced by up to 70% of terminally ill cancer
patients at some point during the course of their disease
Diminishes functional status, social activities, QOL, & the
will to live
In one multi-center study from 2000, terminal
sedation was prompted by dyspnea 3X more
commonly than by pain
The typical pattern is one of chronic dyspnea, punctuated
by unpredictable, but expected, acute episodes
e.g. patients may be hypoxic & “look dyspneic,” but when
well-palliated, they report no sense of dyspnea
Patient self-report is the only accurate measure of dyspnea
Dyspnea – Multidimensional
Dyspnea – Physiology & Pathophysiology
 The sensory cortex receives
copies of respiratory motor
commands arising from the
medulla or motor cortex &
sensory information from
peripheral chemoreceptors
& mechanoreceptors
 Dyspnea occurs if the
degree of motor output
required is perceived to be
unsustainable or
disproportionate to the
sensory information
Dyspnea – Generalized Treatment Measures
 Address the underlying etiology or etiologies, if at all
Reduce the need for exertion
Repositioning, usually to a more upright position
Keep the compromised lung down in unilateral
pulmonary disease
Improve air circulation – open doors & windows,
use a fan
Avoid strong odors, fumes, & smoke
Identify & avoid any triggers that precipitate or worsen
Dyspnea – Opioids
 First-line therapy
 Can be used alone or aside reversible etiologies
 Most beneficial for dyspnea at rest
 Evidence has repeatedly shown that opioids can be
safe & effective at controlling dyspnea in several
clinical populations, including COPD, CHF,
pulmonary fibrosis, & cancer
 Respiratory depression is uncommon when
titration is appropriate & is almost always
preceded by drowsiness/sedation
Hold Parameters
Dyspnea – Opioids
 Reversal agents (i.e., naloxone) should only be used
in the setting of life-threatening opioid toxicity
 Most published trials studied morphine, but trials of
other opioids such as fentanyl, M6G, &
hydromorphone suggest a class effect
 Most common adverse effects experienced in
this population: Constipation, nausea,
Dyspnea – Opioids
 Mechanisms by Which Opioids May Reduce
Decreased metabolic rate and ventilatory requirements
Reduced medullary sensitivity & response to hypercarbia or
Alteration of neurotransmission within medullary respiratory
Cortical sedation (i.e., suppression of respiratory awareness)
Analgesia reduction of pain-induced respiratory drive
Vasodilation (i.e., improved cardiac function)
Anxiolytic effects
Dyspnea – Opioids
 Opiate-naïve older age or
patients with CKD
Consider reducing
starting dose by ½
Avoid morphine in renal
disease if possible
 DOE or dyspnea with
Give 30 minutes prior to
 If on stable IR dosage,
consider trial of LA as
baseline with IR PRN in
between doses
Dyspnea – Other Treatment
 Benzodiazepines
Addresses concomitant anxiety
 No evidence that there is a direct benefit
 Oxygen
Often patients report improved dyspnea, even when not
hypoxemic or when they remain hypoxemic
 ? Placebo effect due to inherent medical symbolism
 Some studies have demonstrated dampening of dyspnea due to
stimulation of the trigeminal nerve, V2 branch
 Depending on patient preference, generally avoid face masks
Dyspnea – Pursed Lip Breathing
The End!!
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