Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and impaired pulmonary function

Gastrointest Endosc. 1994 Jul-Aug;40(4):463-9. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5107(94)70211-x.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a rapidly progressive disease of unknown etiology resulting in tetraparalysis, dysarthria, dysphagia, and ultimately death from respiratory insufficiency. In the course of the disease, recurrent episodes of aspiration, pneumonia, dehydration, and malnutrition may necessitate nasoenteral tube placement, an inconvenient and unattractive arrangement in patients with dribbling and impaired swallowing. A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy seemed a better, though potentially hazardous, alternative in view of the often severely restricted pulmonary function of these patients. Therefore, we prospectively investigated the use of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in 68 consecutive patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Minimum required pulmonary function was defined as forced vital capacity (FVC) of 1 L or more and CO2 gas exchange capability as pCO2 of 45 mm Hg or less. The methodology of insertion was adapted to facilitate the early removal of gastric air. Fifty-five patients (median FVC, 1.7 L; pCO2, 40 mm Hg) were eligible for the gastrostomy procedure, and 13 patients (median FVC, 0.8 L; pCO2, 47 mm Hg) were not. Despite the fact that modification of the method of insertion rendered the procedure more difficult, the success rate was 89% (49/55); it was 96% (49/51) when failures related to distorted anatomy were excluded. The procedure-related mortality rate was 1.8% and the 24-hour in-hospital mortality rate was 3.6%, mainly related to respiratory insufficiency. The 30-day out-of-hospital mortality rate was 11.5%. Major complications (3.6%) consisted of a spontaneously draining cutaneous abscess in 2 cases. Peristomal redness was present in 6 cases, and 5 patients required analgesics for wound pain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / mortality
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Carbon Dioxide / physiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Endoscopy*
  • Enteral Nutrition* / adverse effects
  • Enteral Nutrition* / methods
  • Female
  • Gastrostomy* / adverse effects
  • Gastrostomy* / methods
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Gastrointestinal / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Punctures
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / complications*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Vital Capacity


  • Carbon Dioxide