Emergency Department Utilization for Pediatric Gastrostomy Tubes Across the United States

J Surg Res. 2024 Mar:295:820-826. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2023.11.028. Epub 2023 Dec 30.


Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) visits for gastrostomy tube complications in children represent a substantial health-care burden, and many ED visits are potentially preventable. The number and nature of ED visits to community hospitals for pediatric gastrostomy tube complications is unknown.

Methods: Using the 2019 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, we performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of pediatric patients (<18 y) with a primary diagnosis of gastrostomy tube complication. Our primary outcome was a potentially preventable ED visit, defined as an encounter that did not result in any imaging, procedures, or an inpatient admission. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to determine the associations between patient factors and our primary outcome.

Results: We observed 32,036 ED visits at 535 hospitals and 15,165 (47.3%) were potentially preventable. The median (interquartile range) age was 2 (1, 6) years and 17,707 (55%) were male. Compared to White patients, patients with higher odds of potentially preventable visits were Black (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) [95% confidence interval {CI}]: 1.07 [1.05-1.11], P < 0.001) and Hispanic (aOR [95% CI]: 1.05 [1.02-1.08], P = 0.004). Patients with residential zip codes in the first (aOR [95% CI]: 1.08 [1.04, 1.12], P < 0.001), second (aOR [95% CI]: 1.07 [1.03, 1.11], P < 0.001), and third (aOR [95% CI]: 1.09 [1.05, 1.13], P < 0.001) median household income quartiles had higher odds of potentially preventable visits compared to the highest.

Conclusions: In a nationally representative sample of EDs, 47.3% of visits for pediatric gastrostomy tubes were potentially preventable. Efforts to improve outpatient management are warranted to reduce health-care utilization for these patients.

Keywords: Emergency department; Gastrostomy tube; Health-care utilization; Pediatric.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Gastrostomy* / adverse effects
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States