Background: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is widely used for establishing enteral feeding. The aim of this study was to assess immediate and long-term results after PEG insertion.
Patients and methods: A total of 121 children were retrospectively reviewed. Median age was 2.4 years (range, 4 months-13.2 years) at the time of PEG insertion. Patient morbidity, indications for PEG, preoperative findings and perioperative complications were registered retrospectively. Parents/caregivers of 85 children were interviewed for long-term results.
Results: Perioperative complications were seen in 12%. Twenty-four percent died at a median of 15 months (range, 1.5 months-8 years) after PEG. Eighty-five families were interviewed with a median follow-up time of 5.6 years (range, 1-10 years). A substantial majority (94%) of parents/caregivers reported that the PEG had a positive influence on their child's situation, and 98% would have chosen PEG insertion again. Vomiting/retching improved in 61% of the children, and oral intake enhanced in 43%. Stoma-related complications were frequent (73%). The gastrostomy tube was permanently removed at a median of 3 years (range, 7 months-7.3 years) after PEG placement in 25%. Delayed closure of the gastrocutaneous fistula after gastrostomy removal occurred in 48% of them. Time from insertion to removal was not predictive of delayed closure.
Conclusion: PEG is a safe technique for establishing enteral feeding, even in very sick children. Major complications are rare, although most children experience minor stoma-related problems. Parents/caregivers report that the gastrostomy is of great help for themselves and their child.