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Cancer Patients Are Receiving Emergency Care for Potentially Preventable Conditions

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According to a study published in , many cancer patients seek emergency treatment for conditions that could be prevented through better management of complications of cancer treatment. JAMA network open.

Researchers analyzed 35.5 million emergency department (ED) visits made by cancer patients and found that 51.6% of these visits were potentially preventable. The number of preventable visits increased from 1.8 million in 2012 to 3.2 million he in 2019.

To quantify potentially preventable visits, researchers examined trends and characteristics of ED visits from the National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey from January 2012 to December 2019.

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During that time, there were a total of 854,911,106 ED visits, and 35,510,014 visits (4.2%) were performed by cancer patients. Emergency department visits for cancer patients increased by 67.1% from 2012 to 2019 (P. <.001 trend).

More than 18 million (51.6%) ED visits in cancer patients were identified as potentially preventable, as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS defines an ED visit as potentially preventable if the main diagnosis at the visit is her 1 of 10 conditions.

The most common preventable conditions seen in cancer patients were pain (36.9%), fever (3.5%), nausea (3.5%), vomiting (2.3%), pneumonia (1.7%) and diarrhea (1.3%). ) was the order. dehydration (1.0%), anemia (0.7%), and sepsis (0.6%). Data for the remaining condition, neutropenia, were not included.

Most of these conditions had an increase in ED visits during the study period. The largest increases were seen in dehydration (189.7%) and pain (101.8%). A reduction in vomiting (-33.7%) and pneumonia (-4.1%) was seen.

Overall, the proportion of potentially preventable ED visits in cancer patients increased slightly from 49.6% in 2012 to 51.5% in 2019 (P. =.11). The absolute number of potentially preventable ED visits increased by 73.6% (P. <.001 trend).

Unscheduled hospitalizations occurred in 28.9% of ED visits and 30.2% of potentially preventable visits in cancer patients.

“In this cross-sectional study…, the number of potentially preventable ED visits increased over time, which could be explained by poorly managed symptoms such as uncontrolled pain.” There is,” wrote the researcher. “These findings highlight the need for cancer care programs to implement evidence-based interventions to better manage the complications of cancer treatment, such as pain, in ambulatory and ambulatory settings. I have.”


Tabriz AA, Turner K, Hong YR, etc. Trends and characteristics of preventable emergency department visits in cancer patients in the United States.. JAMA net opened. Published online January 19, 2023. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.50423

This article originally appeared on cancer treatment advisor

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