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Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, under local anaesthetic, was successfully used in 40 out of 41 patients referred for nutritional support. The indications were neurological disorders of swallowing in 32 patients, head and neck cancer in four patients and supplemental feeding in a miscellaneous group of five patients. The main complications of this procedure were one failed insertion and one peritubal infection. At prospective follow-up, the tube continued to function in 16 patients (seven at home) a mean of 184 days post-insertion (range 6-610 days). In 11 patients resumption of swallowing at a mean of 122 (20-390) days allowed tube removal. Thirteen patients died from their disease, a mean of 96 (12-320) days post-insertion. Patient tolerance and patient and carer satisfaction have been excellent and early results suggest that recovery of speech and swallowing in acute neurological disorders may be enhanced. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy should be performed in all patients referred for a gastrostomy and should be considered in all patients requiring long-term tube feeding.