Should We Admit Critically Ill Cancer Patients to the ICU?

  • D. D. Benoit
  • P. O. Depuydt
  • J. M. Decruyenaere
Conference paper


The long-term survival of patients with hematological malignancies has substantially improved over the past two decades. Nowadays, approximately 40 % of patients with acute myelogeneous leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma survive for more than 5 years and it is estimated that nearly 30 % of these patients can be cured [1]. Although diseases such as multiple myeloma, low grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia remain incurable, half of the patients will survive for more than 4 years and survival for more than 8 to 10 years is no longer exceptional today. Similar figures can be drawn for patients with solid tumors. While the prognosis of, for instance, lung cancer and cancer of the upper gastrointestinal tract remains very grim if not detected early, substantial advances have been made in chemo-sensitive tumors such as tumors of the breast, prostate, head-and-neck region and, to a lesser extent, lower gastrointestinal tract, even in rather advanced stages of disease [1]. These improvements have been mainly achieved through the use of new and/or intensive chemotherapeutic regimens coupled with a better risk stratification of patients due to advances in radiology, immuno-histology and cytogenetics, and through advances in supportive care. Unfortunately, the therapeutic intensification coupled with longer survival time has led to an increased occurrence of potential life-threatening complications requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission in these immunosuppressed patients [2, 3].


Intensive Care Unit Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Renal Replacement Therapy Hematological Malignancy Intensive Care Unit Stay 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. D. Benoit
    • 1
  • P. O. Depuydt
    • 1
  • J. M. Decruyenaere
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Intensive CareGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

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