Trends in inpatient palliative care use for primary brain malignancies

Sindhu Kubendran, Erica Schockett, Erin Jackson, Minh Phuong Huynh-Le, Fabio Roberti, Yuan James Rao, Martin Ojong-Ntui, Sharad Goyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Primary brain malignancies (PBMs) pose significant morbidity and poor prognosis. Despite NCCN recommendations that palliative care should be integrated into general oncologic care plans, it has been historically underused in patients with PBM. We sought to examine trends and factors associated with inpatient palliative care use in patients with PBM. Methods: Data from the 2007–2016 National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample was analyzed for descriptive statistics and trends. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with inpatient palliative care in patients with PBMs. Results: Of the 510,238 observed hospitalizations of adults with PBM in a 10-year period, 37,365 (7.3%) had an associated inpatient palliative care consult. Rates of inpatient palliative care have increased significantly over the 10-year period, from 2.3 in 2007 to 11.9% in 2011. Patients receiving inpatient palliative care were less likely to receive inpatient oncologic treatment such as brain surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation compared to those without palliative care (14.6% with palliative care vs. 42.4% without, p < 0.001). They were more likely to receive life-sustaining treatments such as intubation, mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy, nutritional support, hemodialysis, or CPR (21.0% with palliative care vs. 10.4% without, p < 0.001). Palliative care was associated with decreased cost of admission ($18,602 with palliative care vs. $20,077 without). In a multiple variable logistic regression, age, non-elective admission, comorbidities, history of chemotherapy and radiation, and mechanical ventilation were associated with significantly increased odds of receiving palliative care. Conclusions: Inpatient palliative care utilization for patients hospitalized with PBM significantly increased between 2007 and 2016, though the service is still underutilized in the context of the severe symptoms and poor prognosis associated with PBM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology


  • Chemotherapy
  • Health care utilization
  • Palliative care
  • Primary brain tumors
  • Radiation therapy


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