Background: Development of persistent gastrocutaneous fistula and leakage after the removal of a PEG tube is a well-known complication. Various treatments including medications to alter gastric pH, prokinetic agents, endoscopic clipping/suturing, electric and chemical cauterization, argon plasma coagulation, and fibrin sealant, have been used with variable success. Although surgical closure is the current treatment of choice, most of the elderly patients are poor surgical candidates because of multiple comorbid conditions.
Objective: We describe a method of endoscopic suturing of a gastrocutaneous fistula that is a safe and cost-effective alternative to surgical closure.
Design: Individual case.
Setting: Community hospital.
Patient: One elderly patient.
Interventions: By using a trocar, we placed multiple, long monofilament sutures from the skin around the gastrocutaneous fistula in criss-cross fashion. Gastric ends of these sutures were pulled from the stomach with a snare under endoscopic visualization. Suture knots were made at the gastric end of the sutures and then were pulled back from the cutaneous side. Multiple biopsy specimens were obtained from both ends of the fistula to promote granulation tissue. Final knots were made at skin level to obliterate the fistula.
Result: Our procedure resulted in complete closure of a large, persistently leaking gastrocutaneous fistula in an elderly patient within 7 days. The patient tolerated the optimal rate of enteral nutrition without further leakage.
Limitation: Only 1 patient.
Conclusion: We believe that this method of endoscopic suturing along with de-epithelialization of the fistula tract for persistent gastrocutaneous fistula is a safe and cost-effective alternative to surgical closure.