Ben-Aharon, I., Gafter-Gvili, A., Leibovici, L., & Stemmer, S.M. (2012). Interventions for alleviating cancer-related dyspnea: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden), 51, 996-1008.doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2012.709638
The objective of this meta-analysis and systematic review was to evaluate the role of different interventions to alleviate dyspnea.
A total of 829 references were retrieved. The specific method of evaluation was not described, but the small sample size of most studies was noted.
Patients were undergoing end-of-life care.
Findings provide guidance regarding effectiveness of interventions for dyspnea in patients with cancer. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of opioids. Findings also confirm those of others that palliative oxygen is of no benefit for this symptom. Some reviews continue to suggest the use of palliative oxygen. This is not supported by evidence, and home oxygen therapy is generally not covered by insurance for patients who do not have hypoxemia. Unnecessary use can be costly to the patient. Evidence is limited regarding the effects of the addition of hypnotics to opioids in managing dyspnea. This is an area that could benefit from additional research.