Disparities in intensity of treatment at end-of-life among children according to the underlying cause of death

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AIM: To compare indicators of high-intensity treatment at end-of-life (HI-EOL) among children according to causes of death.

METHODS: We conducted a nationwide registry study in Denmark among 938 children of 1-17 years of age who died from natural causes from 2006 to 2016. We identified and compared indicators of HI-EOL within the last month of life across diagnoses. Indicators were hospital admissions, days in hospital, intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, and hospital death.

RESULTS: Proportions of each indicator of HI-EOL ranged from 27% to 75%. The most common indicators were hospital death (75%) and ICU admission (39%). Compared to children with solid tumours, children with non-cancerous conditions had an adjusted odds ratio of 3.5 (95% CI 2.1-5.9) of having ≥3 indicators of HI-EOL within the last month of life and children with haematological cancer had an odds ratio of 11.8 (95% CI 6.1-23.0).

CONCLUSION: The underlying diagnosis was strongly associated with HI-EOL. Children who died from solid tumours experienced substantially less intensive treatment than both children with haematological cancer and non-cancerous conditions did. Across non-cancerous diagnoses, the intensity of treatment appeared consistent, which may indicate, that the awareness of palliative care is higher among oncologists than within other paediatric fields.

TidsskriftActa paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)
Sider (fra-til)1673-1681
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - maj 2021

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