SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
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Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy versus nasogastric tube feeding for adults with swallowing disturbances.

BACKGROUND: A number of conditions compromise the passage of food along the digestive tract. Nasogastric tube (NGT) feeding is a classic, time-proven technique, although its prolonged use can lead to complications such as lesions to the nasal wing, chronic sinusitis, gastro-oesophageal reflux, and aspiration pneumonia. Another method of infusion, percutaneous endoscopy gastrostomy (PEG), is generally used when there is a need for enteral nutrition for a longer time period. There is a high demand for PEG in patients with swallowing disorders, although there is no consistent evidence about its effectiveness and safety as compared to NGT.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of PEG as compared to NGT for adults with swallowing disturbances, by updating our previous Cochrane review.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and LILACS from inception to September 2011, as well as contacting main authors in the subject area. There was no language restriction in the search.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We planned to include randomised controlled trials comparing PEG versus NGT for adults with swallowing disturbances or dysphagia and indications for nutritional support, with any underlying diseases. The primary outcome was intervention failure (e.g. feeding interruption, blocking or leakage of the tube, no adherence to treatment).

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Review authors performed selection, data extraction and evaluation of methodological quality of studies. For dichotomous and continuous variables, we used risk ratio (RR) and mean difference (MD), respectively with the random-effects statistical model and 95% confidence interval (CI). We assumed statistical heterogeneity when I² > 50%.

MAIN RESULTS: We included nine randomised controlled studies. We did not identify new eligible studies published after our previous review literature search date (August 2009). Intervention failure occurred in 19/156 patients in the PEG group and 63/158 patients in the NGT group (RR 0.24, 95%CI 0.08 to 0.76, P = 0.01) in favour of PEG. There was no statistically significant difference between comparison groups in complications (RR 1.00, 95%CI 0.91 to 1.11, P = 0.93).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: PEG was associated with a lower probability of intervention failure, suggesting the endoscopic procedure is more effective and safe as compared to NGT. There is no significant difference of mortality rates between comparison groups, and pneumonia irrespective of underlying disease (medical diagnosis). Future studies should include previously planned and executed follow-up periods, the gastrostomy technique, and the experience of the professionals to allow more detailed subgroup analysis.

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