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Connected Monitoring System Reduces Chemotherapy Burden

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 Aug 2021
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Image: Schematic flowchart of the ASyMS workflow (Photo courtesy of The BMJ)
Image: Schematic flowchart of the ASyMS workflow (Photo courtesy of The BMJ)
A real-time advanced symptom management system (ASyMS) reduces chemotherapy symptom burden, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, United Kingdom), the University of Dundee (UD; United Kingdom), and other institutions conducted a study in 12 cancer centres in Austria, Greece, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, and the UK. The 829 study patients suffered from non-metastatic breast cancer, colorectal cancer, Hodgkin disease, or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and received first-line adjuvant chemotherapy or chemotherapy for the first time in five years.

Study participants were randomly assigned to either ASyMS (415 patients) or standard care (414 patients) during six cycles of chemotherapy. The results showed that symptom burden remained at pre-chemotherapy treatment levels in the ASyMS group, while controls reported an increase from cycle one onward. Significant reductions were seen in favor of ASyMS for the global distress index, psychological symptoms, and physical symptoms subdomains of the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS). The study was published on July 21, 2021, in The BMJ.

“Significant reduction in symptom burden supports the use of ASyMS for remote symptom monitoring in cancer care. A ‘medium’ Cohen’s effect size of 0.5 showed a sizable, positive clinical effect of ASyMS on patients’ symptom experiences,” concluded lead author Roma Maguire, PhD, of the University of Strathclyde, and colleagues. “The cancer community faces unprecedented challenges in delivering chemotherapy, but ASyMS can provide a safe, secure, and ‘real time’ system that optimizes symptom management and supports patients to remain at home."

Patients using ASyMS completed the Daily Chemotherapy Toxicity Self-Assessment Questionnaire (DCTAQ) self-reported questionnaire, which assesses 10 symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, mucositis, paraesthesia, sore hands/feet, flu-like symptoms/infection, tiredness, pain) and up to six additional symptoms, and were also asked to take their body temperature. The data was then automatically evaluated, and when necessary, ASyMS generates appropriate alerts on dedicated handsets to hospital clinicians.

Related Links:
University of Strathclyde
University of Dundee



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