We analyzed 64 percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy procedures performed by us between 1986 and 1990. Thirty patients had neurologic disease; 16 had head and neck cancers; eight had other malignancies; two had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; and eight had other problems. Seven patients died within 30 days of complications (n = 4) or the primary illness (n = 3). Mean follow-up was 6 months; an additional patient died of aspiration and eight others died of their underlying illness. There were 19 complications (32%). Four wound complications occurred. Nine patients developed aspiration pneumonia within 3 days of the procedure, four of whom died in the hospital. Of the 24 patients with a history of aspiration, nine experienced aspiration during or after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. Patients with a history of aspiration were more likely to have perioperative aspiration pneumonia, and patients who experienced aspiration were more likely to die.