Recently approved by the FDA, postmortem chemotherapy is a radical form of medical treatment in which "a ray of hope is offered to those who are no longer with us" by administering chemotherapy anywhere within 1 month and up to 5 years after a patient's death.
The postmortem chemotherapy regimens available are varied depending on the type of metastatic cancer that killed the patient.
Candidates for postmortem chemotherapy most undergo a rigorous selection process during which they must prove their lack of functional status with an ECOG status of 5 but still show they are clearly still "a fighter." Patients usually must undergo transthoracic echocardiogram (or TTE) in order to monitor for and avoid cardiotoxicity as is the case with doxorubicin-based postmortem chemotherapy regimens.
Typically, decreased patients are given postmortem chemotherapy in the outpatient setting where skilled health care professionals look for the presence of vital signs.
Does It Work?
If postmortem chemotherapy continues its current rate of success, then, by the end of 2017, 100% of decreased patients should remain dead.