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End of life in haematology: quality of life predictors – retrospective cohort study
  1. Victoria Korsos1,2,
  2. Alla'a Ali3,
  3. Talia Malagon4,
  4. Farzin Khosrow-Khavar4,5,6,
  5. Doneal Thomas3,
  6. Shireen Sirhan1,2,
  7. Kelly Davison2,7,
  8. Sarit Assouline1,2 and
  9. Chantal Cassis1,2
  1. 1Department of Hematology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  3. 3Rossy Cancer Network, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  4. 4Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  5. 5Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
  6. 6Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
  7. 7Department of Hematology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Victoria Korsos, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada; victoria.korsos{at}


Objectives Haematology patients are more likely to receive high intensity care near end of life (EOL) than patients with solid malignancy. Previous authors have suggested indicators of quality EOL for haematology patients, based on a solid oncology model. We conducted a retrospective chart review with the objectives of (1) determining our performance on these quality EOL indicators, (2) describing the timing of level of intervention (LOI) discussion and palliative care (PC) consultation prior to death and (3) evaluating whether goals of therapy (GOT), PC consultation and earlier LOI discussion are predictors of quality EOL.

Methods We identified patients who died from haematological malignancies between April 2014 and March 2016 (n=319) at four participating McGill University hospitals and performed retrospective chart reviews.

Results We found that 17% of patients were administered chemotherapy less than 14 days prior to death, 20% of patients were admitted to intensive care, 14% were intubated and 5% were resuscitated less than 30 days prior to death, 18% of patients received blood transfusion less than 7 days prior to death and 67% of patients died in an acute care setting. LOI discussion and PC consultation occurred a median of 22 days (IQR 7–103) and 9 days (IQR 3–19) before death. Patients with non-curative GOT, PC consultation or discussed LOI were significantly less likely to have high intensity EOL outcomes.

Conclusions In this study, we demonstrate that LOI discussions, PC consults and physician established GOT are associated with quality EOL outcomes for patients with haematological malignancies.

  • Quality of life
  • End of life care
  • Haematological disease

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  • Contributors CC, VK and SA planned the project. VK conducted the chart reviews with the assistance of AA. DT, FK and TM conducted the statistical analysis. CC and VK wrote the manuscript. SA, KD and SS edited the manuscript. CC is the guarantor of this work.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Rossy Cancer Network (RCN) who provided access to their data registry, a project manager and a statistician.

  • Competing interests TM is a board member of the International papilloma virus society. SS has received research support from Novartis, has sat on the scientific advisory board for Novartis and BMS-Celgene, and has acted as a consultant for Novartis, BMS-Celgene, Sierra Oncology, Constellation, Janssen, Astrazeneca, Abbvie and GSK. KD has acted as a consultant for Abbvie, Kite, Roche, Seagen, Novartis, BMS, Janssen and Beigene and has received honoraria from Incyte. SA has received research support from Novartis and has acted as a consultant and received honoraria from Palladin, Roche, Novartis, BMS, Janssen, Astra Zeneca and Pfizer.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.