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Continuous sedation until death

Anna Elizabeth Sutherland, John Curtin, Victoria Bradley, Olivia Bush, Maggie Presswood, Victoria Hedges, Katrien Naessens
OBJECTIVES: To report the results of a combined case series analysis of subcutaneous levetiracetam (Keppra) for the management of seizures in palliative care patients. METHODS: A comprehensive literature review on the use of subcutaneous levetiracetam was performed, and these data were combined with a prospective observational audit of its use in terminal care undertaken in a regional palliative care network. RESULTS: 7 papers were identified from the literature review-four case reports and three observational case series-reporting on a total of 53 cases where subcutaneous levetiracetam was administered...
July 22, 2017: BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
Sarah Ziegler, Hannes Merker, Margareta Schmid, Milo A Puhan
BACKGROUND: The practice of continuous deep sedation is a challenging clinical intervention with demanding clinical and ethical decision-making. Though current research indicates that healthcare professionals' involvement in such decisions is associated with emotional stress, little is known about sedation-related emotional burden. This study aims to systematically review the evidence on the impact of the inpatient practice of continuous deep sedation until death on healthcare professionals' emotional well-being...
May 8, 2017: BMC Palliative Care
Danièle Leboul, Régis Aubry, Jean-Michel Peter, Victor Royer, Jean-François Richard, Frédéric Guirimand
BACKGROUND: Despite recent advances in palliative medicine, sedating a terminally ill patient is regarded as an indispensable treatment to manage unbearable suffering. With the prospect of widespread use of palliative sedation, the feelings and representations of health care providers and staff (carers) regarding sedation must be carefully explored if we are to gain a better understanding of its impact and potential pitfalls. The objective of the study was to provide a comprehensive description of the opinions of carers about the use of sedation practices in palliative care units (PCU), which have become a focus of public attention following changes in legislation...
April 11, 2017: BMC Palliative Care
Michael Barbato, Greg Barclay, Jan Potter, Wilf Yeo, Joseph Chung
CONTEXT: When palliative care patients enter the phase of unconsciousness preceding death, it is standard practice to initiate or continue a subcutaneous infusion of an opioid plus or minus a sedative. The doses are determined somewhat empirically and adjustments are based on clinical assessment and observational measures of sedation and comfort. Following reports that these observational measures could be misleading, this study assesses their validity by comparing them with an objective measure of sedation, the Bispectral Index Score (BIS)...
August 2017: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Jan L Bernheim, Kasper Raus
The Belgian model of 'integral' end-of-life care consists of universal access to palliative care (PC) and legally regulated euthanasia. As a first worldwide, the Flemish PC organisation has embedded euthanasia in its practice. However, some critics have declared the Belgian-model concepts of 'integral PC' and 'palliative futility' to fundamentally contradict the essence of PC. This article analyses the various essentialistic arguments for the incompatibility of euthanasia and PC. The empirical evidence from the euthanasia-permissive Benelux countries shows that since legalisation, carefulness (of decision making) at the end of life has improved and there have been no significant adverse 'slippery slope' effects...
August 2017: Journal of Medical Ethics
Mahesh Menon, Nafisa Taha, Navita Purohit, Vatsal Kothari, Shweta Singh
Metastatic spinal cord compression is a devastating complication of cancer. Patients may often require high doses of opioids that may cause side effects, myoclonus being one such. A 63-year-old male suffering from malignant spinal cord compression was admitted to our institution. The primary team managed him conservatively with pharmacotherapy with no relief of pain, and he experienced myoclonus and sedation as adverse effects. A continuous cervical epidural catheter with local anesthetic infusion was inserted for 5 days to control his pain...
October 2016: Indian Journal of Palliative Care
R Aubry
On February 2, 2016, the French parliament adopted legislation creating new rights for the terminally ill. The text modifies and reinforces the rights of patients to end-of-life care and strengthens the status of surrogate decision makers. Under the new regulations, advance directives become legally binding though not unenforceable. Two types of advance directives are distinguished depending on whether the person is suffering or not from a serious illness when drafting them. The attending physician must abide by the patient's advance directives except in three situations: there is a life-threatening emergency; the directives are manifestly inappropriate; the directives are not compatible with the patient's medical condition...
December 2016: Revue Neurologique
Tatsuya Morita, Kengo Imai, Naosuke Yokomichi, Masanori Mori, Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Satoru Tsuneto
Continuous deep sedation until death (CDS) is a type of palliative sedation therapy, and it has recently become a focus of intense debate. Marked inconsistencies in intervention procedures (i.e., what is CDS?) and unstandardized descriptions of patient backgrounds lead to difficulty in comparing the results in the literature. The primary aim of this article was to propose a conceptual framework to perform empirical studies on CDS. We propose the definition of CDS using the intervention protocol. As there are two types of CDS proposed in world-wide literature, we recommend to prepare two types of intervention protocol for CDS: "continuous deep sedation as a result of proportional sedation" (gradual CDS) and "continuous deep sedation to rapidly induce unconsciousness" (rapid CDS)...
January 2017: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Blair Henry
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Palliative sedation has been the subject of intensive debate since its first appearance in 1990. In a 2010 review of palliative sedation, the following areas were identified as lacking in consensus: inconsistent terminology, its use in nonphysical suffering, the ongoing experience of distress, and concern that the practice of palliative sedation may hasten death. This review looks at the literature over the past 6 years and provides an update on these outstanding concerns...
September 2016: Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care
Lenzo Robijn, Joachim Cohen, Judith Rietjens, Luc Deliens, Kenneth Chambaere
BACKGROUND: Continuous deep sedation until death is a highly debated medical practice, particularly regarding its potential to hasten death and its proper use in end-of-life care. A thorough analysis of important trends in this practice is needed to identify potentially problematic developments. This study aims to examine trends in the prevalence and practice characteristics of continuous deep sedation until death in Flanders, Belgium between 2007 and 2013, and to study variation on physicians' degree of palliative training...
2016: PloS One
Robert Zittoun
Continuous sedation until death (CSUD) is a practice which has developed recently in several countries, appearing more acceptable than euthanasia and medically assisted suicide, since more close to a "natural death". The French parliament has just adopted a law which stipulates CSUD on request of the patient in a definite number of circumstances, especially in incurable diseases near to the terminal stage with suffering refractory to treatments. Thus France has adopted a unique international position for the end-of-life care...
July 2016: La Presse Médicale
Tze Ling Gwendoline Beatrice Soh, Lalit Kumar Radha Krishna, Shin Wei Sim, Alethea Chung Peng Yee
Lipuma equates continuous sedation until death (CSD) to physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia (PAS/E) based on the premise that iatrogenic unconsciousness negates social function and, thus, personhood, leaving a patient effectively 'dead'. Others have extrapolated upon this position further, to suggest that any use of sedation and/or opioids at the end of life would be analogous to CSD and thus tantamount to PAS/E. These posits sit diametrically opposite to standard end-of-life care practices. This paper will refute Lipuma's position and the posits borne from it...
May 2016: Singapore Medical Journal
Sophie Schur, Dietmar Weixler, Christoph Gabl, Gudrun Kreye, Rudolf Likar, Eva Katharina Masel, Michael Mayrhofer, Franz Reiner, Barbara Schmidmayr, Kathrin Kirchheiner, Herbert Hans Watzke
BACKGROUND: Sedation is used to an increasing extent in end-of-life care. Definitions and indications in this field are based on expert opinions and case series. Little is known about this practice at palliative care units in Austria. METHODS: Patients who died in Austrian palliative care units between June 2012 and June 2013 were identified. A predefined set of baseline characteristics and information on sedation during the last two weeks before death were obtained by reviewing the patients' charts...
May 14, 2016: BMC Palliative Care
Bernard Devalois, Louis Puybasset
New French 2016' Act recognizes 3 new rights for patients at the end of their life: right to dead without futilities, right to have their wishes respected and right to be comfortable in all circumstances. Medical acts must not be continued in an unreasonable way. Futility is defined by useless, disproportionate or without another aim that an artificial life sustaining acts. For patients who cannot tell their wishes, a withdrawing or withholding decision of life sustaining treatments can be taken with a collegiate process...
April 2016: La Presse Médicale
Govert den Hartogh
When a severely suffering dying patient is deeply sedated, and this sedated condition is meant to continue until his death, the doctor involved often decides to abstain from artificially administering fluids. For this dual procedure almost all guidelines require that the patient should not have a life expectancy beyond a stipulated maximum of days (4-14). The reason obviously is that in case of a longer life-expectancy the patient may die from dehydration rather than from his lethal illness. But no guideline tells us how we should describe the dual procedure in case of a longer life-expectancy...
June 2016: Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy
L Robijn, K Chambaere, K Raus, J Rietjens, L Deliens
End-of-life sedation, though increasingly prevalent and widespread, remains a highly debated medical practice in the context of palliative medicine. This qualitative study aims to look more specifically at how health care workers justify their use of continuous sedation until death and which factors they report as playing a part in the decision-making process. In-depth interviews were held with 28 physicians and 22 nurses of 27 cancer patients in Belgium who had received continuous sedation until death in hospitals, palliative care units or at home...
January 2017: European Journal of Cancer Care
Samuel H LiPuma, Joseph P DeMarco
Susan D. McCammon and Nicole M. Piemonte offer a thoughtful and thorough commentary on our manuscript entitled "Expanding the use of Continuous Sedation Until Death." In this reply we attempt to clarify and further defend our position. We show how continuous sedation until death is not a "first resort" but rather a legitimate option among many that should available to terminally ill patients whose life expectancy is less than six months. We also attempt to show that we do not equivocate the meaning of palliative care as the commentators suggested...
2015: Journal of Clinical Ethics
Joseph A Raho, Guido Miccinesi
Patients who are imminently dying sometimes experience symptoms refractory to traditional palliative interventions, and in rare cases, continuous sedation is offered. Samuel H. LiPuma, in a recent article in this Journal, argues that continuous sedation until death is equivalent to physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia based on a higher brain neocortical definition of death. We contest his position that continuous sedation involves killing and offer four objections to the equivalency thesis. First, sedation practices are proportional in a way that physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia is not...
October 2015: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
Mark J Cherry
This issue of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy assesses the deep and abiding tensions that exist among the competing epistemic perspectives that bear on medicine and morality. Concepts of health and disease, as well as the theoretical framing of medical ethics and health care policy, intersect with an overlapping set of culturally situated communities (scientific, political, moral, and religious), striving to understand and manipulate the world in ways that each finds explanatory, appropriate, or otherwise befitting...
October 2015: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
Susan D McCammon, Nicole M Piemonte
Samuel H. LiPuma and Joseph P. DeMarco argue for a positive right to continuous sedation until death (CSD) for any patient with a life expectancy less than six months. They reject any requirement of proportionality. Their proposed guideline makes CSD an option for a decisional adult patient with an appropriate terminal diagnosis regardless of whether suffering (physical or existential) is present. This guideline purports to "empower" the patient with the ability to control the timing and manner of her death...
2015: Journal of Clinical Ethics
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