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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 11

of 'Psychosocial issues in advanced illness'

A comparison of symptom prevalence in far advanced cancer, AIDS, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and renal disease.
Solano JP, Gomes B, Higginson IJ
J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006;31(1):58.
Little attention has been paid to the symptom management needs of patients with life-threatening diseases other than cancer. In this study, we aimed to determine to what extent patients with progressive chronic diseases have similar symptom profiles. A systematic search of medical databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO) and textbooks identified 64 original studies reporting the prevalence of 11 common symptoms among end-stage patients with cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or renal disease. Analyzing the data in a comparative table (a grid), we found that the prevalence of the 11 symptoms was often widely but homogeneously spread across the five diseases. Three symptoms-pain, breathlessness, and fatigue-were found among more than 50% of patients, for all five diseases. There appears to be a common pathway toward death for malignant and nonmalignant diseases. The designs of symptom prevalence studies need to be improved because of methodological disparities in symptom assessment and designs.
Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.