Features  |   October 2016
Palliative Surgery for the Management of Dyspnea: Are the Goals Achieved?
Author Affiliations
  • Allen N. Gustin, Jr., M.D., FCCP
    Committee on Palliative Care
Article Information
Cardiovascular Anesthesia / Palliative Care / End-of-Life Care / Respiratory System / Features
Features   |   October 2016
Palliative Surgery for the Management of Dyspnea: Are the Goals Achieved?
ASA Monitor 10 2016, Vol.80, 14-16.
ASA Monitor 10 2016, Vol.80, 14-16.
Regarding Palliative Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Surgery
Palliative medicine is the multidisciplinary approach to the specialized care of patients with serious illnesses and focuses on providing all patients relief from the physical symptoms, physical stresses and mental stresses of serious illness, whatever the diagnosis and regardless of the prognosis.1  Palliative medicine has been recognized as a subspecialty certification in American health care since 2006 and is now cosponsored by 10 boards, including the American Board of Anesthesiology. Many symptom complexes can be managed by palliative medicine consultants and include the following: pain, nausea/vomiting/abdominal distention, dyspnea, wound odor/wound drainage, jaundice/anorexia, immobility, dysphagia, hemorrhage and fistula management. As other fields of medicine focus on the management of the disease process, the field of palliative medicine focuses primarily on symptom management and the relief of suffering for both the patient and the patient’s family/surrogates.1  Many health care workers and members of the public confuse hospice as palliative medicine. Hospice is a distinct silo of the field of palliative medicine, is prognosis-dependent, tends to discourage active care, is not compatible with critical care medicine and tends to not be compatible with surgical care. Unlike hospice, palliative medicine is offered simultaneously with all other appropriate/active medical treatments, is not prognosis-dependent, can be provided alongside critical care medicine and can be integrated easily into surgical care.1 
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