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The prevalence and treatment of oedema at the end of life: a retrospective review of 400 cases

Amanda Landers, Angela Huor
7 September 2021

Oedema at the end of life (OATEOL) is common and causes functional disability and psychological distress. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of OATEOL in a palliative care population and document the treatment options being offered. A retrospective case note review of 400 patients was conducted by the authors. Of the patients reviewed, 114 (28.5%) had a diagnosis of OATEOL. Most patients had a primary diagnosis of malignancy (78%) and approximately a quarter had non-cancer illnesses (22%). OATEOL was categorised as either lymphatic, non-lymphatic or mixed oedema. The majority of participants with OATEOL were categorised as non-lymphatic. Across all oedema subtypes, the range of treatments offered were inadequate and inconsistent according to best practice.

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