Background: Clinical utilization of direct percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy (DPEJ) is increasing. However, little data exist regarding important clinical outcomes with DPEJ.
Objective: To describe the indications, success, and complications of DPEJ in a large cohort of >300 consecutive attempted DPEJ cases at our institution.
Methods: Institutional databases identified 316 consecutive attempted DPEJ placements between January 1996 and August 2004. The medical records of consenting patients were abstracted for demographics, indication, success, complications, and follow-up. A scheme for classifying complication severity was designed.
Results: Three hundred and seven attempts at DPEJ were made on 286 patients. Of these, 209 succeeded (68%). The most common indications for DPEJ included resectable distal esophageal cancer, other malignancies causing obstruction, gastroparesis, prior esophageal or gastric resection, and high aspiration risk. Overall, 81 adverse events (AEs) were associated with DPEJ placement or removal in 69 (22.5%) cases. There were 14 serious AEs, 20 moderate AEs, and 47 mild AEs. Serious AEs included 7 bowel perforations, 3 jejunal volvuli, 3 major bleeds, and 1 aspiration. The only death was due to profound jejunal mesenteric bleeding after an unsuccessful trocar pass. Moderate AEs included 9 chronic enterocutaneous fistulae. Many of the 47 mild AEs were site infections requiring oral antibiotics (23) or persistent site pain (14).
Conclusions: DPEJ was associated with a moderate or severe complication in approximately 10% of cases. While DPEJ is a useful technique to gain enteral access that obviates the need for surgery and is more reliable than percutaneous gastrostomy with jejunal extension, patients and physicians should be aware of the risks involved.