Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding in AIDS*

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Reduced energy intake is the most important reason for weight loss in advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. From January 1989 to August 1995 enteral feeding via a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube (PEG) was offered to all human immunodeficiency virus(HIV)/AIDS patients attending Fairfield Hospital, Melbourne who were unable to maintain 85% ideal body weight. A total of 71 patients received enteral feeding (1000-2000 kcal/day) for a median period of 161 days (range 4-644 days). Fifty-one (72%) patients gained 5.8 ± 4.4 kg (range 0.4-19.2 kg). Nine gained 10 kg or more. The median time to maximum weight was 74 days after PEG insertion. Those who gained weight had a longer median survival, but this difference was not statistically significant (210 vs 109 days, P = 0.07). The only predictor of weight gain was a CD4 count greater than 100/μL. Patients who gained weight reported improved quality of life and increased independence. However, early complications, especially wound infection, were common. Although these data have been gathered retrospectively, our experience suggests that enteral feeding can maintain or improve nutritional status and may improve quality of life in advanced HIV infection.

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