Objectives: Wasting is a major feature of advanced HIV infection. Enteral nutrition via percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a safe and efficient therapy in malnutrition, but limited experience exists in wasted HIV patients. Here we report on outcome and risk of PEG-feeding in HIV patients compared with HIV-seronegative patients and with HIV patients without PEG.
Methods: In 47 HIV-infected patients, PEG was placed because of wasting (n = 33), neurologic deficits (n = 11), or dysphagia (n = 3). Clinical, immunological, and nutritional data were compared with those of i) 15 HIV patients who refused PEG placement despite an appropriate indication, ii) 76 HIV patients without signs of malnutrition, and iii) 43 miscellaneous PEG patients.
Results: PEG was as safe in HIV-infected as in HIV-seronegative patients. PEG feeding resulted in significant increases of body weight (+3.3 +/- 3.6 kg, p < 0.001), serum albumin concentration (+4.5 +/- 7.2 g/L, p < 0.005), and total iron-binding capacity (+9.5 +/- 11.5 mumol/L, p < 0.001). Moreover, our data indicate that PEG feeding may improve survival in wasted AIDS patients.
Conclusions: PEG feeding is safe and effective in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome. Further prospective investigations are necessary to answer the question of whether treatment of wasting improves patient survival.