J. David Baxter, MD
Requests for Single Reprints: J. David Baxter, MD, Memorial University Medical Center, 1101 Lexington Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404; e-mail, email@example.com.
Baxter J.; Air Versus Water. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:616-617. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-9-201011020-00015
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(9):616-617.
Seeing her again lying there brought tears to my eyes. My wife's beautiful mother, a retired operating room nurse, was slowly dying of Alzheimer's disease, as she had been for the past 10 years. Initially she had been just forgetful and (we thought) merely stressed, but as time went by, her confusion and forgetfulness led us to seek a physician. After consultations, laboratory tests, and scans, we learned the cruel diagnosis and our fears had been confirmed. With reluctance, we slowly accepted her diagnosis, even though my father-in-law would describe her condition in the early days as only a “touch” of Alzheimer's.
Stephen R Workman
Dalhousie University Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
November 2, 2010
Are feeding tubes life sustaining?
Dr Baxter, in struggling with his mother in law's treatment options for advanced Alzheimers disease, notes: 'I didn't think she would want to have a tube placed in her abdominal wall just so she could be kept alive.'
This factual comment about the efficacy of feeding tubes in improving survival should be referenced.
In a widely cited analysis of evidence about feeding tubes Finucane et al (1) note that there is no evidence that feeding tubes increase survival, or improve any other clinically important outcome.
(1) Finucane T, Christmas C, Travis K. Tube Feeding in patients with advanced dementia: A Review of the evidence JAMA. 1999;282(14):1365-1370.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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