Trends and Outcomes of Early Versus Late Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Placement in Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: Nationwide Population-based Study

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Oral intake for traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients is often not an option because of facial trauma, swallowing dysfunctions, altered consciousness, etc. These patients often require percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) placement for nutrition support. To date, there is lack of studies examining the relationship between the timing of PEG placement and patient outcome in the TBI group.


We conducted a population-based study in a retrospective cohort of TBI patients undergoing PEG, using the national inpatient sample for years 2011 to 2013.


A total of 96,625 patients were identified for TBI and 3343 of those patients received PEG. TBI patients who undergo an early or late PEG placement had a higher rate of in-hospital mortality, when compared with patients with a standard timing of PEG placement. Late PEG was preferably placed in patients with higher Charlson index and trauma-related comorbidities, and these patients had a higher incidence of complications, that is, sepsis, urinary tract infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome/pneumonia, and deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism. When stratified by mortality-risk groups, early PEG was associated with higher rates of in-hospital mortality while standard PEG was associated with best mortality outcomes in low–mortality-risk group and moderate–mortality-risk group.


The results of this study suggest that if a PEG placement is indicated for a TBI patient, a standard (7 to 14 d) timing may be associated with better patient outcomes. However, secondary to limitations associated with the use of administrative databases, further prospective studies are needed to establish clear guidelines regarding the optimal timing of placing PEG in TBI patients.

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