Indicators for Enteral Nutrition Use and Prophylactic Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Placement in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer Undergoing Chemoradiotherapy

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Abstract

Background: Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is a major risk factor for malnutrition and dehydration in patients with head and neck cancer. Enteral support is often needed, and a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is frequently placed. Specific indicators for PEG placement remain unclear. This study retrospectively determined which factors contributed to enteral nutrition (EN) use and PEG placement in a large patient group to gain insight on potential indicators for PEG placement protocol creation. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 240 patients with head and neck cancer who underwent CRT in 2012–2015 was conducted. Lifestyle, oncological, treatment, and nutrition outcome characteristics were examined and compared between patients who used EN and those who did not, as well as between patients who received a PEG and those who did not. Results: In total, 195 patients used EN (via PEG or nasogastric tube). Multivariate analysis showed that nodal disease presence (P = .01) and bilateral neck irradiation (P = .01) were significantly related to EN use while increased age (P = .01), nodal disease presence (P = .02), reconstruction extent other than primary closure (P = .02), bilateral neck irradiation (P < .01), and an adapted intake consistency prior to treatment (P = .03) were significantly related to PEG placement. Conclusion: Important factors for EN usage and PEG placement consideration include nodal disease and planned bilateral neck irradiation. Results from this study in combination with existing literature can be taken into consideration in the design of a PEG placement protocol. A better understanding of predictive indicators to PEG placement should be explored in further prospective studies.

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