EPICANCER-Cancer Patients Presenting to the Emergency Departments in France: A Prospective Nationwide Study

J Clin Med. 2020 May 17;9(5):1505. doi: 10.3390/jcm9051505.


Background: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of cancer patients who presented to Emergency Departments (EDs), report their chief complaint and identify the predictors of 30-day all-cause mortality.

Patients and methods: we undertook a prospective, cross-sectional study during three consecutive days in 138 EDs and performed a logistic regression to identify the predictors of 30-day mortality in hospitalized patients.

Results: A total of 1380 cancer patients were included. The prevalence of cancer patients among ED patients was 2.8%. The most frequent reasons patients sought ED care were fatigue (16.6%), dyspnea (16.3%), gastro-intestinal disorders (15.1%), trauma (13.0%), fever (12.5%) and neurological disorders (12.5%). Patients were admitted to the hospital in 64.9% of cases, of which 13.4% died at day 30. Variables independently associated with a higher mortality at day 30 were male gender (Odds Ratio (OR), 1.63; 95% CI, 1.04-2.56), fatigue (OR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.01-2.67), poor performance status (OR, 3.00; 95% CI, 1.87-4.80), solid malignancy (OR, 3.05; 95% CI, 1.26-7.40), uncontrolled malignancy (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.36-3.80), ED attendance for a neurological disorder (OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.36-4.19), high shock-index (OR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.03-3.13) and oxygen therapy (OR, 2.68; 95% CI, 1.68-4.29).

Conclusion: Cancer patients showed heterogeneity among their reasons for ED attendance and a high need for hospitalization and case fatality. Malignancy and general health status played a major role in the patient outcomes. This study suggests that the emergency care of cancer patients may be complex. Thus, studies to assess the impact of a dedicated oncology curriculum for ED physicians are warranted.

Keywords: cancer; emergency department; epidemiology.