Introduction: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is the method of choice for long-term nutrition in patients with longstanding eating difficulties due to pathological entities that impair swallowing. The feeding catheters are designed to be removed by external traction or by endoscopy.
Aim: To evaluate the feasibility of the cut-and-push method as a possible safe alternative to the pullout method for removal of soft PEG devices with a large caliber.
Methods: Patients with 20 French (Fr) or larger soft PEG system were enrolled for PEG removal by the cut-and-push technique. The replacement catheters were 2 Fr larger than the original ones. Patients were observed at 24 and 72 hours via home nursing care and then weekly for 1 month for signs of intestinal obstruction, tube leakage, or blockage.
Results: Seventy-nine patients (52 men; mean age 67 years) underwent the procedure: 42 due to leakage and 37 due to blockage. Mean time before tube removal was 4.8 months (range, 3-8). PEG devices were 20 Fr and 24 Fr in 57 (72.2%) and 22 (27.8%) cases, respectively. Collection of the inner component from stool was reported within 48 hours in 63 cases (80%). No cases of intestinal obstruction or other severe adverse events due to the inner component being eliminated throughout the intestine were observed in any patient during the study.
Conclusions: The cut-and-push method employed for removal of a soft PEG tube with a large caliber seems to be safe and can be performed when removal by external traction may determine the occurrence of peristomal complications or jeopardize PEG replacement.
Keywords: enteral nutrition; gastrostomy.