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Medical oncologists’ and palliative care physicians’ opinions towards thromboprophylaxis for inpatients with advanced cancer: a cross-sectional study
  1. Breffni Hannon1,2,
  2. Nathan Taback3,
  3. Camilla Zimmermann1,2,
  4. John Granton2,4 and
  5. Monika Krzyzanowska2,5
  1. 1Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Respiratory Medicine, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Breffni Hannon, Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9, Canada; breffni.hannon{at}


Background Patients with advanced cancer are increasingly discharged from inpatient settings following focused symptom management admissions. Thromboprophylaxis (TP) is recommended for patients with cancer admitted to acute care settings; less is known about TP use in palliative care (PC) settings. This study explored the opinions of Canadian medical oncologists (MO) and PC physicians regarding the use of TP for inpatients with advanced cancer.

Methods A fractional factorial survey designed to evaluate the impact of patient factors (age, clinical setting, reason for admission, pre-admission performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group; ECOG), and risk of bleeding on anticoagulation) and physician demographics on recommending TP was administered by email to Canadian MO and PC physicians. Each respondent received eight vignettes randomly selected from a set of 32. Hierarchical regression was used to evaluate the odds of prescribing TP adjusted for patient factors.

Results 606 MO and 491 PC physicians were surveyed; response rates were 11.1% and 15.0%, respectively. MO were predominantly male (59.7%); PC female (60.3%); most worked in academic environments (90.3% MO; 73.9% PC). Multivariable hierarchical logistic regression demonstrated that all patient factors except age were associated with prescribing TP (ORs range: from 1.34 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.77) for good ECOG, to 2.53 (95% CI 1.9 to 3.37), for reversible reason for admission). Controlling for these factors, medical specialty was independently associated with recommending TP (OR for MO 2.09 (95% CI 1.56 to 2.8)).

Conclusions MO have higher odds of recommending TP for inpatients with advanced cancer than PC physicians. Further research exploring the drivers of these differing practices is warranted.

  • thromboprophylaxis
  • advanced cancer
  • palliative care
  • medical oncology
  • inpatients
  • venous thromboembolism
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  • Contributors BH designed, planned and conducted the study with support from NT, CZ, MK and JG. All authors reviewed the results and contributed to the completed manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The University Health Network Research Ethics Board approved this study on 16 November 2017 (ID number 16-6381).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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