Open gastrostomy for noninvasive ventilation users with neuromuscular disease

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jan;89(1):1-6. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181c55e2c.


Objective: To report open gastrostomy for ventilator-assisted or -supported patients with altered nutritional status as a result of severe dysphagia and without tracheostomy, translaryngeal intubation, or general anesthesia. Avoiding intubation and general anesthesia decreases the risk of respiratory complications and can prolong noninvasive respiratory management.

Design: The procedure was performed for 62 noninvasive intermittent positive-pressure ventilation users: 44 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 10 with muscular dystrophy including 6 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and 8 with other conditions. All had vital capacities <40% of predicted normal. Noninvasive intermittent positive-pressure ventilation was provided in ambient air before, during, and after the procedure. Oxyhemoglobin saturation was maintained at 95% or greater and end-tidal CO2 <40 cm H2O by noninvasive intermittent positive-pressure ventilation and mechanically assisted coughing.

Results: There were no complications of the procedure. All patients gained weight subsequently. Mean postgastrostomy survival was 38.8 +/- 6.2 mos with 26 of the patients still alive. Eighteen of the 62 patients had no ventilator-free breathing ability before, during, or after the gastrostomy. Fifty-one patients eventually lost all ventilator-free breathing abilities without tracheostomy.

Conclusions: Open gastrostomy can be performed safely without airway intubation or general anesthesia for patients with little or no autonomous breathing ability. It permitted continued survival without tracheostomy despite loss of all ventilator-free breathing abilities for 51 patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / surgery*
  • Female
  • Gastrostomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intermittent Positive-Pressure Ventilation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / complications*
  • Young Adult