Symptom control in terminally ill patients with malignant bowel obstruction (MBO)

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1994 Jan;9(1):12-8. doi: 10.1016/0885-3924(94)90141-4.


The inadequacy of prolonged conservative management with nasogastric suction and intravenous fluids for terminally ill patients with bowel obstruction has long been recognized. Using previous reports and our experience on the Palliative Care Unit at the Edmonton General Hospital, we have developed a basic approach to bowel obstruction management. In a review of 100 consecutive patients who died on our Palliative Care Unit, 15 required medical management for bowel obstruction. Evaluation of these cases suggests that intensive medical management can provide good symptom control without using intravenous lines and with minimal use of nasogastric tubes.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Hospital Units
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / physiopathology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery
  • Intestinal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suction
  • Terminal Care*