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Drainage of malignant ascites: patient selection and perspectives

Authors Stukan M

Received 23 November 2016

Accepted for publication 21 February 2017

Published 12 April 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 115—130


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Kenan Onel

Maciej Stukan

Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Gdynia Oncology Center, Szpitale Wojewodzkie w Gdyni Sp. z o.o., Gdynia, Poland

Abstract: Malignant ascites (MA) is a sign of advanced cancer and poor prognosis. MA can result in impairment in quality of life (QOL) and significant symptoms. As a supportive treatment, ascites can be drained by paracentesis (PC), percutaneously implanted catheters (tunneled, untunneled, central venous catheters), or peritoneal ports, or peritoneovenous shunts. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness, safety, and patient-reported outcomes (PRO) of different drainage methods for the management of MA. A systematic review of the literature was performed, and 32 original articles met the inclusion criteria. Patients selected for permanent drain insertion demonstrated symptoms related to MA and had undergone repeated PC. The primary focus of the reviewed articles was procedural safety issues. The rate of technical success of drainage device installation was 100%. Most patients experienced improvements in symptom control after ascites drainage. When analyzed together, 19.7% (255/1297) of patients experienced any complication and 6.2% (81/1297) experienced serious adverse events during MA drainage. Complications were reported for every drainage method; however, the least occurred after PC or central venous catheter, while the most serious occurred after peritoneovenous shunts. Adverse events were as follows: catheter obstruction: 4.4%, infection: 4.1%, leakage: 3.5%, catheter dislodgment: 2.3%, hypotension: 0.6%, injuries during device insertion: 0.6%, renal impairment: 0.5%, electrolyte imbalance: 0.2%, other: 3.6%. PRO and QOL endpoints were available for 12 studies. When PRO were measured using an interview, a significant improvement in symptom control and QOL was reported in almost all patients. Once standardized questionnaires were used, improvements in symptomatic scores and role functioning were observed. Deterioration was observed in cognitive and emotional subscales. MA drainage is a safe and effective method to control symptoms associated with ascites, and should be perceived as a supportive care, that can be applied for those who need it at any time of their cancer trajectory. Patient selection should be performed using a thorough assessment of symptoms and QOL, and should not be delayed.

Keywords: ascites, malignant, cancer, drainage, complications, quality of life, symptoms, palliation, support, catheter, peritoneal port, paracenetesis, shunt, effectiveness, management

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