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Remote Tracking Reduces Dehydration Risk in RT Patients

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 07 Jun 2018
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Image: A diagram of various stakeholder roles in the CYCORE system (Photo courtesy of MD Anderson).
Image: A diagram of various stakeholder roles in the CYCORE system (Photo courtesy of MD Anderson).
A new study suggests that mobile sensor technology can help identify early dehydration risk in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT) treatment.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD, USA) and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson; Houston, USA) conducted a prospective randomized trial involving 357 patients with head and neck cancer undergoing RT in order to evaluate the self-monitoring CYberinfrastructure for COmparative effectiveness Research (CYCORE) system, which utilizes sensor and mobile technology to remotely assess daily weight, blood pressure (BP), pulse, and patient-reported outcomes.

Patients were randomly assigned to usual care or to CYCORE self-monitoring during RT, and both groups had standard weekly visits with their oncologists. In addition, all patients completed the 28-item MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) at baseline, at completion of 6-7 weeks of RT, and at 6-8 weeks post-RT completion. The MDASI includes general cancer symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, and those more specific to head and neck cancer, such as difficulty swallowing, and skin pain, burning, and rash. Symptoms did not differ between the two groups at the beginning of treatment.

The results revealed that when RT was completed, patients in the CYCORE cohort reported significantly lower scores than did those in the usual care group for both general MDASI symptoms and specific head and neck cancer symptoms. The mean scores on symptom interference in daily life were similar for both study groups across all time periods. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), held during June 2018 in Chicago (IL, USA).

“The data are collected on a range of tools, including tablets with proprietary WiFi. It uses an in-home wide area network (WAN) hub/router that transmits sensor readouts, and a mobile app can relay symptom data through a back-end cyber-infrastructure to secure firewall-protected computers,” said lead author Professor Susan Peterson, PhD, of MD Anderson. “The daily report from the remote tracking system allowed physicians caring for these patients to detect concerning symptoms early and respond quickly to alleviate them.”

When undergoing cancer treatment, side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Infections, high fever, bleeding, or merely not drinking enough fluids also can lead to dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, sleepiness, decrease in urination, dark yellow- or amber-colored urine, decreased skin elasticity, dry mouth and mucous membranes, and low blood pressure.

Related Links:
University of California, San Diego
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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