Share this Article
W Luman, KR Kwek, KL Loi, MA Chiam, WK Cheung, HS Ng
Correspondence: Dr W Luman, email@example.com
Introduction Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is widely used for patients with dysphagia from neurological causes and head and neck malignancy. We examined the indications, complication rates and long term outcome of PEG inserted in our department.
Methods We performed a study of PEG inserted in our department between January 1995 to March 2000. Consecutive patients with PEG inserted during this period were identified from our database that contained demographic data, primary and secondary underlying medical conditions, and immediate complications after the procedure. Casenotes were reviewed and caregivers (relatives or staff at nursing homes) were contacted for information on long term outcome at the time of this study between April 2000. Data was collected in standard form designed for this study.
Results 181 cases of PEG insertion were performed during the study period. 174 patients were successfully followed up and reviewed. The median age was 70.5 (range 24 to 93) years old and there were 111 males. Indications for PEG insertion were: cerebrovascular diseases (60.4%), Parkinson's disease and other neuromuscular disorders (10.9%), nasopharyngeal carcinoma and other upper gastrointestinal malignancies (24.7%), and head injury (4%). Superficial wound infection (22.4%) and granuloma formation (31%) were common minor complications. Major complications were infrequent: peritonitis (2.3%) and gastrointestinal bleeding (0.6%). The mortality rates were 11.5% and 28.2% at one and six months respectively. Only one death from peritonitis was directly attributed to the procedure, most deaths were due to underlying co-morbidities with pneumonia being the most common cause. The proportion of the first PEG tubes removed or replaced were 12.2% and 35.5% at one and six months respectively. Thirty tubes were replaced due to blockage at median interval of 9.6 months. 9.7% of PEG tubes functioned longer than 24 months.
Conclusion Our results confirm the safety of PEG tubes in elderly patients with multiple co-morbidities. Major complications of the procedure were infrequent but produced grave consequences in these elderly patients with multiple co-morbidities. As such, patients considered for PEG feeding should have reasonable prognosis and the procedure is inappropriate for patients with rapidly progressive and incurable diseases.
Keywords: gastrostomy, tubes
Singapore Med J 2001; 42(10): 460-465