Objectives: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding has a significant morbidity and mortality associated with the procedure. Patient selection, procedural volume, timing of insertion and aftercare may have a direct bearing on mortality. We aimed to establish whether variation in PEG practice exists within the UK.
Materials and methods: The British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) approached all NHS hospitals providing an endoscopy service (n = 260). A custom designed web-based questionnaire was circulated.
Results: The response rate was 83% (n = 215); 57% were Joint Advisory Group (JAG) accredited; 33% (70/215) of hospitals inserted more than 75 PEGs a year (4 hospitals inserting >150). Stroke and neurodegenerative conditions were the main indications for PEG insertion. However, 36% (77/215) of hospitals inserted PEGs for dementia. PEG insertion timings varied: 33% (72/215) had a strict policy of waiting more than 2 weeks from referral to insertion, 14% (30/215) performed immediately and 34% (74/215) determined the time delay depending on the underlying condition. Local guidelines for PEG insertion existed in 87% (186/215) of hospitals and 78% (168/215) had access to radiologically inserted gastrostomies. Prophylactic antibiotics were used in 93% (201/215) of hospitals. Only 64% (137/215) had a dedicated PEG aftercare service. This was significantly lower in non-JAG accredited units (p = 0.008).
Conclusion: This National BSG survey demonstrates variations in practice particularly with regards to PEG insertion in patients with dementia, the timing of PEG insertion and PEG aftercare. These variations in practice may be important factors accounting for the significant morbidity and mortality associated with this procedure.