Increasing Serum Albumin Level Shortly After Gastrostomy Tube Insertion Predicts Longer Survival in Elderly Patients With Dementia

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To identify factors influencing survival after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube insertion in elderly patients with severe dementia.


Use of PEG in patients with dementia raises medical and ethical questions.


The cohort included 189 patients aged ≥64 years with severe dementia who underwent PEG tube insertion in 2002 to 2011 at a tertiary hospital and were followed through 2014. Data were collected on background diseases, laboratory tests conducted 14 (±10) days before and 90 (±10) days after PEG, and date of death. Multivariate Cox regression analysis was performed and cumulative survival curves plotted.


Mean baseline serum albumin level was significantly lower in patients who died ≤30 days after PEG (n=32, 16.9%) than patients who survived longer (2.9±0.5 vs. 3.3±0.5 g/dL, P<0.001), and significantly higher in patients who survived 1 year after PEG (n=96, 50.8%) than patients who died earlier (3.4±0.5 vs. 3.1±0.5 g/dL, P=0.002). No significant differences were found for the other laboratory parameters. After adjustment for background diseases, serum albumin level above the median (3.3 g/dL) was the only predictor of survival (hazard ratio 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.37-0.72; P<0.001). Patients with stable/increased serum albumin levels at 90 days after PEG (n=80, 42.3%) survived longer than patients with decreased levels. The only predictor of survival after adjustment for age and background diseases was a stable/increased albumin level at 90 days (hazard ratio 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.85; P=0.004).


Survival after PEG tube insertion is associated with a higher serum albumin level at baseline and a stable/increased serum albumin level during follow-up.

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