Acute and chronic respiratory failure in cancer patients

Steven P. Sears, Gordon Carr, Christian Bime

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


In 2016, there was an estimated 1.8 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Remarkable advances have been made in cancer therapy and the 5-year survival has increased for most patients affected by malignancy. There are growing numbers of patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) and up to 20% of all patients admitted to an ICU carry a diagnosis of malignancy. Respiratory failure remains the most common reason for ICU admission and remains the leading causes of death in oncology patients. There are many causes of respiratory failure in this population. Pneumonia is the most common cause of respiratory failure, yet there are many causes of respiratory insufficiency unique to the cancer patient. These causes are often a result of immunosuppression, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT). Treatment is focused on supportive care and specific therapy for the underlying cause of respiratory failure. Noninvasive modalities of respiratory support are available; however, careful patient selection is paramount as indiscriminate use of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation is associated with a higher mortality if mechanical ventilation is later required. Historically, respiratory failure in the cancer patient had a grim prognosis. Outcomes have improved over the past 20 years. Survivors are often left with significant disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOncologic Critical Care
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783319745886
ISBN (Print)9783319745879
StatePublished - Oct 12 2019


  • Bronchoscopy
  • Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage
  • High resolution computed tomography
  • Intensive care unit
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Noninvasive ventilation
  • Organizing pneumonia
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Respiratory failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Acute and chronic respiratory failure in cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this