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JKM > Volume 45(2); 2024 > Article
Lee, Kim, Kim, Joo, Cho, Cho, Park, and Park: Development of a Standardized Clinical Pathway in Korean Patients with Gastric Cancer Clinical Application Observational Study

Abstract

Objectives

The objective of this study was to explore the integration of Traditional Korean Medicine (TKM) into existing clinical pathways for the treatment of gastric cancer. focusing on enhancing treatment outcomes and improving patient quality of life.

Methods

Employing a prospective observational design, the study targeted adults aged 20–75 diagnosed with gastric cancer. It assessed the TKM pathway's impact on quality of life, tumor markers, complete blood count test values, and patient satisfaction, and monitored adverse reactions to evaluate effectiveness and safety.

Results

The study demonstrated improved quality of life(QOL), as indicated by increased Karnofsky Performance Scale(KPS) scores Mean Difference(MD)=20.37, and better quality of life (MD=19.79) assessments. Blood test results showed notable enhancements in immune function markers such as Neutrophil (MD=−7.34%) and Lymphocyte (6.80%), and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)(MD=−11.05mm/hr). Both patient and medical staff satisfaction (MD=0.33) improved, although changes in tumor markers were not statistically significant.

Conclusions

The integration of TKM into the treatment of gastric cancer can significantly improve patient quality of life and satisfaction. To further substantiate these results, developing and implementing more critical pathways across varied clinical settings, along with larger-scaled studies, are essential.

Table 1
Patient Characteristics
N(8) Percentage(%)
Sex
 Male 1 12.5
 Female 7 87.5

Age 59.13±8.32(46–75)

Stages of gastric cancer
 Early Gastric Cancer (EGC) 4 50
 Advanced Gastric Cancer (AGC) 4 50

Surgical Methods
 Endoscopic resection 1 12.5
 Total gastrectomy 3 37.5
 Partial gastrectomy 4 50
Table 2
Comparison of the KPS, EORTC QLQ-C30, EORTC QLQ-STO22 Scores in Inpatients with Clinical Pathway Application
Admission average Discharge average MD T-test P-value
KPS score 64.63±15.85 85.00±5.35 20.37 −4.18 0.002**

QLQ-C30
 Physical Functioning 70.83±22.24 82.50±10.65 11.67 −2.08 0.03*
 Role functioning 68.75±24.30 70.83±21.36 2.08 −0.19 0.42
 Emotional functioning 59.37±25.76 78.12±33.02 18.75 −4.58 0.001***
 Cognitive functioning 64.58±31.42 75±33.33 10.42 −1.66 0.06
 Social functioning 70.83±31.81 81.25±18.77 10.42 −1.48 0.09
 Quality of Life 46.87±31.16 66.66±21.82 19.79 −2.18 0.03*
 Fatigue 51.38±22.17 36.11±11.50 −15.27 3.27 0.006**
 Nausea and Vomiting 6.25±12.40 8.33±12.60 2.08 −0.55 0.329
 Pain 31.25±30.13 22.91±21.71 −8.34 1.87 0.05
 Dyspnea 16.66±17.82 16.66±17.82 0.00 0.00 -
 Sleep 54.16±39.59 41.66±34.50 −12.50 2.04 0.03*
 Appetite loss 37.50±37.53 8.33±15.43 −29.17 2.19 0.03*
 Constipation 37.50±±41.55 37.50±33.03 0.00 1.62 1.89
 Diarrhea 25.00±38.83 12.50±17.25 −12.50 1.15 0.14
 Financial difficulties 29.16±37.53 12.50±35.36 −16.66 1.87 0.05*

QLQ-STO22
 Dysphagia 30.55±26.39 15.27±11.79 −15.28 1.94 0.04*
 Pain 36.45±17.78 32.29±14.39 −4.16 1.32 0.11
 Reflux symptoms 16.66±14.55 20.83±14.55 4.17 −0.81 0.22
 Eating restrictions 37.50±27.82 29.16±25.59 −8.34 1.76 0.06
 Anxiety 52.77±17.57 43.05±29.95 −9.72 1.31 0.11
 Dry mouth 50.00±47.14 45.83±35.36 −4.17 0.42 0.34
 Taste 20.83±35.36 16.66±35.63 −4.17 0.55 0.29
 Body image 41.66±34.50 33.33±30.86 −8.33 1.00 0.17
 Hair loss 60.00±27.22 26.66±14.91 −33.34 1.82 0.07

MD, Mean Difference; KPS, Karnofsky Performance Scale.

* p<0.05,

** p<0.01,

*** p<0.001

Table 3
Comparison of the CEA, CA19-9 in Inpatients with Clinical Pathway Application
Admission average Discharge average MD T-test P-value
CEA (ng/ml) 1.51±0.91 1.89±1.60 0.38 −1.39 0.10
CA19-9 (U/ml) 9.06±9.24 12.20±18.30 3.14 −0.94 0.18
Table 4
Comparison of the CBC Test in Inpatients with Clinical Pathway Application
CBC test Admission average Discharge average MD T-test P-value
RBC (106/ul) 3.99±0.32 3.92±0.35 −0.07 0.65 0.27
WBC (103/ul) 4.36±0.98 4.24±0.68 −0.12 0.38 0.36
Hemoglobin (g/dl) 11.30±1.54 10.95±1.58 −0.35 1.06 0.16
Hematocrit (%) 34.03±18.08 33.08±10.45 −0.95 0.92 0.20
ESR (mm/hr) 28.43±14.95 17.38±9.49 −11.05 2.10 0.04*
Platelet (104/ul) 25.71±8.88 26.20±7.5 0.49 −0.34 0.37
Neutrophil (%) 60.09±13.35 52.75±7.85 −7.34 2.05 0.04*
Lymphocyte (%) 29.23±13.34 36.03±7.70 6.80 −1.88 0.057*
Monocyte (%) 7.93±1.67 7.55±2.14 −0.38 0.53 0.30
Eosinophil (%) 2.44±1.24 3.33±2.22 0.89 −1.42 0.10

* p<0.05

Table 5
Comparison of the Patients, Medical Employees's Satisfaction in Inpatients with Clinical Pathway Application
Satisfaction Admission average Discharge average MD T-test P-value
Patients (n=8) 4.28±0.43 4.39±0.52 0.11 −1.02 0.17
Medical Employees (n=11) 3.45±0.47 3.78±0.46 0.33 −2.54 0.01**

** p<0.01

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