Improvement in symptom burden within one day after palliative care consultation in a cohort of gynecologic oncology inpatients

Carolyn Lefkowits, Winifred Teuteberg, Madeleine Courtney-Brooks, Paniti Sukumvanich, Rachel Ruskin, Joseph L. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the magnitude and time course of change in symptom burden after palliative care (PC) consultation in a cohort of gynecologic oncology inpatients. Methods: Women with a gynecologic malignancy and PC consultation for symptom management between 3/1/12 and 2/28/13 were identified. Charts were reviewed for demographic and disease characteristics. Symptom scores on a modified Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) scale were abstracted for pain, anorexia, fatigue, depression, anxiety, nausea and dyspnea. Prevalence of moderate-to-severe symptom intensity was compared between the day of PC consultation (D1), the day after PC consultation (D2) and the last recorded symptoms before discharge (DLast). Results: PC was consulted for symptom management during 129 admissions of 95 unique patients. Median age was 59, 84% were white and 67% had stage III/IV disease, with ovarian the most common site (52%). Symptom prevalence on D1 for at least mild intensity ranged 14% (dyspnea) to 80% (pain) and for at least moderate intensity from 3% (dyspnea) to 50% (pain). Statistically significant decreases in prevalence of moderate to severe symptom intensity between D1 and DLast occurred for pain, anorexia, fatigue and nausea (magnitude 58-66%) and between D1 and D2 for pain, fatigue and nausea (magnitude 50-55%). The majority of the improvement that occurred between D1 and DLast happened by D2. Conclusions: PC consultation is associated with improvement in symptom burden, the majority of which occurs within one day of consultation. PC may be an effective tool for symptom management in patients with moderate to severe symptom intensity even during short hospitalizations and should be considered early in the hospitalization to effect timely symptom relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-428
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Fatigue
  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Palliative care
  • Symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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