Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube has now become a preferred option for the long-term nutritional support device for patients with dysphagia. There is a considerable debate about the health issues related to the quality of life of these patients. Our aim of the study was to assess the outcome and perspectives of patients/care givers, about the acceptability of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement.
This descriptive analytic study conducted in patients, who have undergone percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement during January 1998 till December 2004. Medical records of these patients were evaluated for their demographic characteristics, underlying diagnosis, indications and complications. Telephonic interviews were conducted till March 2005, on a pre-tested questionnaire to address psychological, social and physical performance status, of the health related quality of life issues.
A total of 191 patients' medical records were reviewed, 120 (63%) were males, and mean age was 63 years. Early complication was infection at PEG tube site in 6 (3%) patients. In follow up over 365 ± 149 days, late complications (occurring 72 hours later) were infection at PEG tube site in 29 (15 %) patient and dislodgment/blockage of the tube in 26 (13.6%). Interviews were possible with 126 patients/caretakers. Karnofsky Performance Score of 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 was found in 13(10%), 18(14%), 21(17%), 29(23%) and 45(36%) with p-value < 0.001. Regarding the social and psychological aspects; 76(60%) would like to have the PEG tube again if required, 105(83 %) felt ease in feeding, and 76(60%) felt that PEG-tube helped in prolonging the survival. Regarding negative opinions; 49(39 %) felt that the feeding was too frequent, 45(36 %) felt apprehensive about dependency for feeding and 62(49%) were concerned about an increase in the cost of care.
PEG-tube placement was found to be relatively free from serious immediate and long- term complications. Majority of caregivers and patient felt that PEG-tube helped in feeding and prolonging the survival. Studies are needed to assess the real benefit in terms of actual nutritional gain and quality of life in such patients.