Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and gastrojejunostomy in psychomotor retarded subjects: a follow-up covering 106 patient years

E M Mathus-Vliegen, H Koning, J A Taminiau, C G Moorman-Voestermans
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2001, 33 (4): 488-94

BACKGROUND: Whether psychomotor retarded persons should be treated by percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) or by surgical gastrostomy combined with an antireflux procedure is controversial. Therefore, the authors investigated the feasibility of a PEG and enteral feeding in these patients.

METHODS: Patients referred from specialized institutions for a PEG placement were assessed extensively by a multidisciplinary team. When considered eligible, age and general condition determined the choice of treatment under general anesthesia (group 1) or conscious sedation (group 2). Patients were followed up after 1 and 7 days, 4 and 12 weeks, and thereafter every 6 to 12 weeks. Data were collected prospectively over a period of 5 years until gastrostomy removal, death, or arrival at the censory date, 6 months after PEG placement. The endpoints were 1) to evaluate the procedure and its complications; 2) to discover barriers that impeded adequate nutrition; and 3) to explore the appropriateness of the choice of PEG or percutaneous endoscopic gastrojejunostomy (PEJ).

RESULTS: The procedure was successful in 95% of patients, in every patient in group 1 (35/35; median age, 4.1 years) and in 20 of 23 patients (87%) in group 2 (median age, 22.0 years). There were no procedure-related deaths and no 30-day mortality. Major complications changed from procedure-related problems in the short term (5.4%) to tube-related problems in the long-term (24.1%). Nausea and vomiting interfered with adequate feeding mainly in young children, but dietary adjustments alleviated the symptoms and ensured an adequate intake. The choice of a PEG was incorrect in four patients: surgery was needed twice and two PEGs had to be converted into a PEJ. All seven primarily indicated PEJs seemed justified and of temporary need in five.

CONCLUSIONS: In severely disabled patients, a PEG and adequate enteral nutrition is feasible in the setting of a multidisciplinary approach and protocol-wise follow-up. Yet, anatomic deformities and restricted pulmonary function rendered the procedure more difficult. In cases with obvious aspiration or gastroesophageal reflux, a PEJ combined with acid suppression and prokinetic drugs may be tried before surgery.

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