We reviewed our experience with 158 consecutive patients who underwent either percutaneous gastrostomy or percutaneous gastroenterostomy during a 2-year period. The catheters used included Foley catheters (36), Cope-type gastric catheters (86), or Carey-Alzate-Coons gastrojejunostomy catheters (36). Gastrojejunostomy tubes were placed in patients with gastroesophageal reflux or aspiration, gastric atony, or partial gastric obstruction. Ninety percent of the tubes were placed for feeding purposes. The technical success rate was 100%. Thirty-day follow-up was obtained in 89%. Thirty-day mortality was 26%, reflecting the substantial number of debilitated patients. No deaths were directly related to tube placement. Major morbidity was 6% and included hemorrhage, peritonitis, tube migration, and sepsis. Minor morbidity was 12%. There was no difference in 30-day mortality or feeding tolerance between the tube types (p less than .05). Patients with Foley catheters had more complications necessitating surgical intervention and an increased incidence of tube changes required within 30 days. These were the only statistically significant differences between the tubes (p less than .05). Our results show that percutaneous gastrostomy is a safe and effective means of gastroenteric feeding or decompression. Because of the fewer complications and ease of insertion, the Cope type of gastrostomy tube has become our preferred catheter for percutaneous feeding or decompression.