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Anaemia, cytopenias, and thrombosis in palliative medicine 

Anaemia, cytopenias, and thrombosis in palliative medicine
Anaemia, cytopenias, and thrombosis in palliative medicine

Nancy Y. Zhu

and Cynthia Wu

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date: 24 January 2022

Many haematological issues can complicate end-of-life care, including cytopenias and venous thromboembolism (VTE). Anaemia is very common and can significantly impact quality of life; causes include haemorrhage, iron deficiency, nutritional deficiencies, and bone marrow infiltration. Neutropenia from bone marrow failure as a result of disease infiltration or from chemotherapy effects can result in life-threatening infections. Finally, VTE is commonly seen in cancer patients as well as those who require prolonged hospitalization. Symptoms can cause discomfort, mortality is increased, and treatment is associated with major bleeding. Understanding the therapeutic options and their adverse side effects is essential in the management of these complex problems. Despite the presence of effective therapies, it is also important to realize that events such as febrile neutropenia and pulmonary embolism are often seen at the end of life and intervention may not always impact prognosis. The risks of intervention should be weighed against expected benefits when developing appropriate palliative care plans.

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