2006, Number 5
Cir Cir 2006; 74 (5)
Valdespino-Gómez VM, López-Garza JR, González-Alemán JC, Valdespino-Castillo VE
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ABSTRACTThe global incidence of emergencies and urgent medical-surgical conditions in cancer patients has not been well described. The aim of the study was to identify the main symptoms and diagnoses in patients seen for consultation at the Urgent Care Service in a Mexican Comprehensive Cancer Center. This was a retrospective observational study. The information was obtained from the Continuous Admission Service daily consultation records at the Oncology Hospital, National Medical Center “21st Century”, Institute of Social Security, Mexico City. During a 6-month period, 4937 patients were seen for consultation. True oncologic emergencies were 3.7%, urgencies 52.5% and non-urgent were 43.7%. Most common symptoms for emergency and urgency patient consultations were severe pain (69.5%) and dehydration with electrolyte imbalance (11.4%). Prevalent symptoms were associated with the primary tumor or metastatic dissemination (89% cases). The most frequent baseline diseases were breast, colorectal, cervical, lung and stomach carcinomas. Defined oncologic emergencies in this series were septic shock and severe neutropenia (20%), hypovolemic shock due to severe bleeding (16.5%), and severe dyspnea due to pneumonia or pleural efusion (12%). Data evaluating the use of analgesic drug therapy for cancer pain alone indicate that 80% of patients report adequate analgesia. Analgesia failures were associated with an insufficient prescription or with inadequate consumption of opioid analgesics. The Urgent Care Center at a Comprehensive Cancer Center offers the best opportunity for diagnosis and treatment of emergencies and urgent care conditions in cancer patients.