Background and aim: Patients undergoing percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placement often are under antiplatelet therapy with a potential thromboembolic risk if these medications are discontinued. This systematic review aims to assess if maintaining aspirin and/or clopidogrel treatment increases the risk of bleeding following PEG placement.
Methods: A systematic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and SCOPUS databases was developed for studies investigating the risk of bleeding in patients on antiplatelet therapy undergoing PEG tube insertion. Summary estimates, including 95 % confidence intervals (CI), were calculated. A fixed or random effects model was used depending on heterogeneity (I2). Publication bias risks were assessed by means of funnel plot analysis.
Results: Eleven studies with a total of 6,233 patients (among whom 3,665 were undergoing antiplatelet treatment), met the inclusion criteria and were included in the quantitative summary.Any PEG tube placement-related bleeding was found in 2.67 % (95 % CI 1.66 %, 3.91 %) of the entire population and in 2.7 % (95 % CI 1.5 %, 4.1 %) of patients not receiving antiplatelet therapy. Pooled relative risk (RR) for bleeding in patients under aspirin, when compared to controls, was 1.43 (95 % CI 0.89, 2.29; I2 = 0 %); pooled RR for clopidogrel was 1.21 (95 % CI 0.48, 3.04; I2 = 0 %) and for dual antiplatelet therapy, 2.13; (95 % CI 0.77,5.91; I2 = 47 %). No significant publication bias was evident for the different medications analyzed.
Conclusion: Antiplatelet therapy was safe among patients undergoing PEG tube insertion. Future prospective and randomized studies with larger sample sizes are required to confirm the results of this study.