Year 2018 / Volume 110 / Number 11
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Year 2018 / Volume 110 / Number 11

Original

Prevalence of the need for sodium intake restriction and the use of laxatives in palliative patients

712-717

Álvaro Gándara del Castillo, María Herrera Abián, Cristina Vicente Martín, José María Fraile Vicente, Ruth Delgado Juárez,

Background: palliative patients usually have diseases that require a restriction of dietary sodium, although the prevalence of this requirement is unknown. Such conditions, combined with constipation, may mean that the use of laxatives with electrolytes should be avoided. Objectives: to ascertain the prevalence of the need to restrict sodium intake in palliative patients and to analyze the prevalence of constipation and the use of laxatives, including those containing sodium. Method: this was a multicenter retrospective, descriptive, cross-sectional, epidemiological study of both inpatients and outpatients over 18 years of age treated at the palliative care clinic (June 2015-March 2016). Demographic and anthropometric characteristics, diseases associated with dietary sodium restriction and treatments administered were recorded. Results: the study sample consisted of 400 palliative patients, with a mean age of 77.8 ± 13.0 years and 52.2% were male. Of these, 68.3% were inpatients and 31.8% were outpatients. Comorbidities requiring low sodium or a sodium-free diet were found in 87.0% (95% CI: 83.3-90.0) of cases. Only 46.5% (95% CI: 41.5-51.5) of patients had been prescribed a low salt diet. It should be noted that 50.5% (95% CI: 45.5-55.5) of patients required a low sodium diet and suffered from constipation. Laxatives (polyethylene glycol or lactulose-rich products [PEG] with electrolytes in 54% of cases) were taken by 53.8% (95% CI: 48.7-58.7) of patients, 52.1% due to constipation and 42.3% as a prevention due to opioid treatment. Conclusions: a high proportion of the study cohort (87%) had some condition that required dietary sodium restriction and at least half the patients had constipation. The use of laxatives to treat or prevent constipation is common in palliative patients. A sodium-free laxative is therefore preferred in these patients.

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The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology is the official organ of the Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva, the Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva and the Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva
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