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Table 3 Indication for sedation, patients' request and observational reports on communication and oral fluid/nutrition intake comparing the periods 1995–1999 and 2000–2002 (*p < 0.05).

From: Sedation in palliative care – a critical analysis of 7 years experience

  Whole Period 1995 – 2002 Period 1995–1999 Period 2000 – 2002 Significance p-values
Patients with sedation in the last 48 hrs     
n (% of all deaths) 80 (14.6) 31 (10.6) 49 (18.9)* **P = 0.007
Main indication for sedation, n (%)     
Dyspnoea 28 (35.0) 11 (35.5) 17 (34.7) n.s.
Gastrointestinal 6 (7.5) 3 (9.7) 3 (6.1) n.s.
Bleeding 1 (1.3) 1 (3.2) 0 (0.0) n.s.
Pain 2 (2.5) 1 (3.2) 1 (2.0) n.s.
Delirium, agitation 11 (13.8) 6 (19.4) 5 (10.2) n.s.
Anxiety, psychological distress 32 (40.0) 9 (29.0) 23 (46.9) P = 0.111
Requests for sedation, n (%) 23 (28.8) 6 (19.4) 17 (34.4) P = 0.141
Duration of sedation (hrs)     
Mean (SD) 62.8 (58.0) 69.0 (57.5) 58.9 (58.7) P = 0.445
Range 2–264 15 – 240 2 – 264  
Mainly somatic indication 63.3 (56.3) 84.7 (64.0) 47.3 (45.1) P = 0.117
Mainly psychological indication 62.6 (60.3) 52.2 (46.0) 68.3 (67.1) P = 0.145
Patients with request for sedation 57.3 (47.3) 73.0 (53.0) 51.8 (45.2) P = 0.198
Type of sedation and clinical state:     
Continuous, n (%) 48 (60.0) 15 (48.4) 33 (67.3) P = 0.092
Intermittent, n (%) 32 (40.0) 16 (51.6) 16 (32.7) P = 0.092
With communication, n (%) 42 (51.3) 16 (51.5) 26 (53.1) n.s.
With oral fluid intake, n (%) 53 (66.3) 15 (48.4) 38 (77.6)* P = 0.007
With oral nutrition, n (%) 10 (12.5) 5 (16.1) 5 (10.2) n.s.
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