Palliative sedation in end-of-life care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The aim of this review was to present and comment on recent data published on palliative sedation in palliative and end-of-life care. Palliative sedation is a medical procedure used to deal with the refractory symptoms occurring in the advanced stages of cancer. It has clinical, nursing, relational and ethical implications, making it a highly sensitive issue. RECENT FINDINGS: Over the last 12 months, a number of authors have published interesting new findings on different areas of palliative sedation, that is prevalence, indications, monitoring, duration and choice of drugs. In particular, a clear definition of palliative sedation and of its more pronounced form, deep continuous sedation (DCS), has emerged. It has been confirmed that, when performed in the correct way and with the right aims, palliative sedation does not have a detrimental impact on survival. SUMMARY: Recent findings confirm that palliative sedation is an integral part of a medical palliative care approach and is needed in certain clinical situations. It is a legitimate clinical practice from any ethical point of view. While oncologists should have a basic knowledge of the procedure, its in depth study is a core competency for palliative care physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-367
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • end-of-life
  • palliative care
  • palliative sedation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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