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Palliat Med. 2015 Feb;29(2):120-7.

Change in physiological variables in the last 2 weeks of life: An observational study of hospital in-patients with cancer

Taylor P, Crouch S, Howell DA, Dowding DW, Johnson MJ.

In a single centre retrospective cohort study of 102 terminally ill patients with cancer who died in hospital routinely measured parameters and how they related to dying were assessed. During the final 2 weeks of life respiratory rate increased and SpO2 decreased, and a deterioration in renal function was also detected. Blood pressure and pulse rate were relative stabile as death approached and thus cannot indicate the end stages of life. The authors suggest that further research is needed into the relationship of respiratory function and death.

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