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  • Author: Monika K. Krzyzanowska x
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Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, Hani Abushomar, Xi-Kuan Chen, Katerina Gapanenko, Chelsea Taylor, Monika K. Krzyzanowska, and Chaim M. Bell

Background: Patients admitted to the hospital on weekends experience worse outcomes than those admitted on weekdays. Patients with cancer may be especially vulnerable to the effects of weekend care. Our objective was to compare the care and outcomes of patients with cancer admitted urgently to the hospital on weekends and holidays versus those of patients with cancer admitted at other times. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study of all adult patients with cancer having an urgent hospitalization in Canada from 2010 to 2013. Patients admitted to hospital on weekends/holidays were compared with those admitted on weekdays. The primary outcome was 7-day in-hospital mortality. We also compared performance of procedures in the first 2 days of hospital admission and admission to critical care after the first 24 hours. Results: 290,471 hospital admissions were included. Patients admitted to hospital on weekends/holidays had an increased risk of 7-day in-hospital mortality (4.8% vs 4.3%; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.13; 95% CI, 1.08–1.17), corresponding to 137 excess deaths per year compared with the weekday group. This risk persisted after restricting the analysis to patients arriving by ambulance (7.1% vs 6.4%; adjusted OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.04–1.18). Among those who had procedures in the first 4 days of admission, fewer weekend/holiday-admitted patients had them performed in the first 2 days, for 8 of 9 common procedure groups. There was no difference in critical care admission risk after the first 24 hours. Conclusions: Patients with cancer admitted to the hospital on weekends/holidays experience higher mortality relative to patients admitted on weekdays. This may result from different care processes for weekend/holiday patients, including delayed procedures. Future research is needed to identify key outcome-driving procedures, and ensure timely access to these on all days of the week.

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Christopher M. Booth, Sulaiman Nanji, Xuejiao Wei, Yingwei Peng, James J. Biagi, Timothy P. Hanna, Monika K. Krzyzanowska, and William J. Mackillop

Background: International guidelines recommend adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT) for patients with stage III colon cancer. Whether efficacy observed in clinical trials translates to effectiveness in routine practice is less well understood. Here we describe use and outcomes of ACT in routine practice. Methods: All cases of colon cancer treated with surgery in Ontario 2002–2008 were identified using the population-based Ontario Cancer Registry. Linked electronic records of treatment identified surgery and ACT use. Pathology reports were obtained for a random 25% sample of all cases; patients with stage III disease were included in the study population. Modified Poisson regression was used to evaluate factors associated with ACT. Cox proportional hazards model and propensity score analysis were used to explore the association between ACT and cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS). Results: The study population included 2,801 patients with stage III colon cancer; 66% (n=1,861) received ACT. ACT use rates varied substantially across age groups; 90% among patients aged 20 to 49 years versus 68% among those aged 70 to 79 years (P<.001). ACT use was inversely associated with comorbidity (P<.001) and socioeconomic status (P=.049). In adjusted analyses advanced age is associated with inferior CSS and OS. Use of ACT was associated with decreased risk of death from cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63; 95% CI, 0.54–0.73) and decreased risk of death from any cause (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.55–0.71). This result was consistent in the propensity score analysis. Conclusions: One-third of patients with stage III colon cancer in the general population do not receive ACT. Use of ACT in routine practice is associated with a substantial improvement in CSS and OS.

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Camilla Zimmermann, Ashley Pope, Breffni Hannon, Monika K. Krzyzanowska, Gary Rodin, Madeline Li, Doris Howell, Jennifer J. Knox, Natasha B. Leighl, Srikala Sridhar, Amit M. Oza, Rebecca Prince, Stephanie Lheureux, Aaron R. Hansen, Anne Rydall, Brittany Chow, Leonie Herx, Christopher M. Booth, Deborah Dudgeon, Neesha Dhani, Geoffrey Liu, Philippe L. Bedard, Jean Mathews, Nadia Swami, and Lisa W. Le

Background: Routine early palliative care (EPC) improves quality of life (QoL) for patients with advanced cancer, but it may not be necessary for all patients. We assessed the feasibility of Symptom screening with Targeted Early Palliative care (STEP) in a phase II trial. Methods: Patients with advanced cancer were recruited from medical oncology clinics. Symptoms were screened at each visit using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-revised (ESAS-r); moderate to severe scores (screen-positive) triggered an email to a palliative care nurse, who called the patient and offered EPC. Patient-reported outcomes of QoL, depression, symptom control, and satisfaction with care were measured at baseline and at 2, 4, and 6 months. The primary aim was to determine feasibility, according to predefined criteria. Secondary aims were to assess whether STEP identified patients with worse patient-reported outcomes and whether screen-positive patients who accepted and received EPC had better outcomes over time than those who did not receive EPC. Results: In total, 116 patients were enrolled, of which 89 (77%) completed screening for ≥70% of visits. Of the 70 screen-positive patients, 39 (56%) received EPC during the 6-month study and 4 (6%) received EPC after the study end. Measure completion was 76% at 2 months, 68% at 4 months, and 63% at 6 months. Among screen-negative patients, QoL, depression, and symptom control were substantially better than for screen-positive patients at baseline (all P<.0001) and remained stable over time. Among screen-positive patients, mood and symptom control improved over time for those who accepted and received EPC and worsened for those who did not receive EPC (P<.01 for trend over time), with no difference in QoL or satisfaction with care. Conclusions: STEP is feasible in ambulatory patients with advanced cancer and distinguishes between patients who remain stable without EPC and those who benefit from targeted EPC. Acceptance of the triggered EPC visit should be encouraged.

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04044040.