Tools for assessing nausea, vomiting, and retching: A literature review

Janelle M. Wood, Kathleen Chapman, June Eilers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and retching are recognized as having an impact on patients' overall physical well-being, quality of life, and treatment decisions. Although there are many tools available to measure aspects of these symptoms, few offer a complete and concise clinical assessment. Objective: The purpose of this article was to provide a comprehensive overview of the various instruments available for the assessment of cancer-related nausea, vomiting, and retching. Analysis included symptoms measured, period evaluated, type of questions posed, and aspects of each symptom measured. Methods: Searches were conducted to find relevant articles using nationally recognized oncology Web sites and 4 electronic databases including PubMed, MEDLINE/CINAHL and CINAHL/EBSCO, and Cochrane. Results: This review includes a total of 25 instruments that were identified as meeting the inclusion criteria of having been developed, or adapted, for the adult population, with an oncology focus. Conclusion: The ideal instrument would include measurement of all 3 symptoms while remaining clear, concise, and clinically relevant. Implications for Practice: Although only 1 instrument came close to meeting these criteria, this review provides nurses with specific information on a variety of instruments to assist providers in selecting the most appropriate instrument for their specific clinical setting. This comprehensive critique of instruments is important for nurses attempting to select a tool to guide optimum care for patients in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E14-E24
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • CINV
  • Cancer
  • Emesis
  • Measurement
  • Nausea
  • Oncology
  • Quality of life
  • Retching
  • Scale
  • Symptom assessment
  • Symptom distress
  • Symptom experience
  • Symptom occurrence
  • Tool
  • Vomiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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