Flexible Bronchoscope Use by Pulmonologists in Collaboration With Gastroenterologists for Placement of Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Via Transnasal Route in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer: A 10-Year Experience in a Single Cancer Institution

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This study was conducted with the aim of evaluating a 10-year experience in the Pulmonology Department of a cancer center for percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy through transnasal route (TN-PEG) in patients with head and neck cancer whose oral access is precluded. This study was a retrospective analysis of 40 consecutive head and neck cancer patients referred for PEG placement, between 2005 and 2014, using a transnasal route because of the impossibility of intubation through the oral cavity. Demographics, outcome of TN-PEG procedure, indications for bronchoscopic approach (prophylactic/palliative), clinical need for bronchoscopy (trismus, oropharyngeal obstruction), location of cancer, complications, and overall survival were reviewed. In 40 TN-PEG procedures, executed by 1 of 3 pulmonologists, 39 were successfully placed and there were no immediate complications. All except 1 complication were minor, but no surgery or PEG removal was required. There was a rapid learning curve among all operators. A combined TN-PEG placement by a gastroenterologist and a pulmonologist is a safe and useful option for these patients; the learning curve for successfully performing the procedure was short.

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