Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy: confirming the clinical benefits far beyond anthropometry

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Abstract

Objectives

The real benefit of gastrostomy is still a matter of debate. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the global impact of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) in patients followed at a specialized multidisciplinary clinic, namely, the impact on the need for healthcare resources, anthropometric measures, pressure ulcers prevention and healing, and nutritional and hydration status.

Patients and methods

From the 201 patients who underwent PEG between May 2011 and September 2014, 60 were included in a prospective study. Anthropometric, clinical, and laboratorial variables were collected and compared before and after PEG. Follow-up duration, mortality, and number of emergency department visits or hospital admissions were also assessed.

Results

Thirty-three (55.0%) patients were women and the median age was 79 years. The main indications for PEG were dementia (43.3%) and poststroke dysphagia (30.0%). Four months following PEG, significant decreases in the tricipital skinfold (P=0.002) and brachial perimeter (P=0.003) were found. A decrease in the mean number of hospitalizations (1.4 vs. 0.3; P<0.001) and visits to emergency department (2.2 vs. 1.1; P=0.003) was noted in the next 6 months after PEG compared with the previous semester. In 53.8% of patients with pressure ulcers, complete healing was observed after PEG. PEG was associated with increases in hemoglobin (P=0.024), lymphocytes (P=0.041), cholesterol (P=0.008), transferrin (P<0.001), albumin (P<0.001), and total proteins (P<0.001), and a decrease in serum sodium (P=0.001).

Conclusion

Anthropometric values may not translate the early benefits of a gastrostomy. PEG decreases the need for hospital health care, facilitates healing of pressure ulcers, and induces biochemical changes that may reflect better nutrition and hydration.

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