Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and enteral nutrition in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

J Neurol. 1995 Oct;242(10):695-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00866922.


Bulbar involvement in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is often related to a worse prognosis on account of the higher risk of pulmonary aspiration and undernutrition due to dysphagia. The aim of our study was to assess the effects of enteral feeding by percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) in a long-term follow-up of ALS patients. We report the results of PEG in 31 ALS patients with bulbar involvement. The patients were observed at 3-monthly intervals over a period of 2 years after PEG. All the data were compared with those obtained from a control group of 35 ALS patients who refused PEG. Mortality did not differ significantly between the two groups of patients during the first 6 months of observation, whereas after this period it was lower in the PEG group. In the patients who had had PEG, the body mass index showed a mild but statistically significant improvement after tube insertion while in the control group it decreased significantly. The findings of this study demonstrate that PEG can improve survival in elderly and young ALS patients with bulbar involvement; it enhances their quality of life and helps their integration in their social and family surroundings. We think that PEG should be included symptomatic treatment of all ALS patients with bulbar involvement from the onset of symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / mortality
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Female
  • Gastrostomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology*
  • Survival Rate