Updated ESPGHAN Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Position Paper

M Homan et al. JPGN 2021; 73: 415-426. Open Access: Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy in Children: An Update to the ESPGHAN Position Paper

A couple of interesting recommendations in this updated position paper on the use of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) include the following:

  • Feeding can be initiated as early as 3 hours post-procedure in a stable child with no complications.
  • Iso-osmolar feeds of the standard polymeric formula are the best type of food to start with after the PEG insertion” and ” bolus feeding is more physiological and should be the first choice… in some children, small boluses during the day could be combined with the overnight continuous feeding via enteral pump.”
  • Replacing the initial tube with a gastric balloon/button should be recommended to the families/children who will need long term enteral nutrition to improve quality of life.”
  • Gastric balloons should be replaced every 6 months, but non-balloon PEGs can be replaced annually.”

The full article provides a rationale/nuance for these recommendations. Use of feeds starting at 3 hrs post-op has been found to be safe. And, there is no evidence available that suggests routine use of a clear fluid test or dilute or hypotonic feed after the procedure. In fact, it has been suggested that these measures delay the time to full enteral intake and prolong hospital stay.

With regard to balloon button Gtube changes, the authors note that while manufacturers recommend changing every 3 months, “in the majority, these are safe to replace less frequently.”

The authors clearly favor low-profile buttons and state that changing to them earlier after initial Gtube placement (after 1 month) under general anesthesia should be safe (if no issues with healing like diabetes, and systemic corticosteroids); “however, the physician should give the parents/child the possibility of choice whether to perform the replacement or not.” Also, “the primary device can stay in place for one year or even more. In a German study, 85% of parents answered that the GB is advantageous over primary gastrostomy tube due to mobility, patient comfort at physiotherapy, swimming or night-time sleep, and higher parent satisfaction.”

My take: This article provides a good summary of PEG indications/contraindications, complications, and advise for clinicians

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www.feedingtubeawareness.com  This site contains a terrific PDF download which explains enteral tubes in an easy to understand style along with good graphics. “What You Need to Know Now, A Parent’s Introduction to Tube Feeding is the guidebook that every parent wished they had when they were first introduced to feeding tubes.”

Shelburne Farms, VT

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#NASPGHAN18 -Our Poster on Antibiotic Stewardship and PEG Placement

Thanks to Chelly Dykes for presenting poster later today and to co-authors for collaborating on this project: Jeffery Lewis, Bonney Reed-Knight and Cate Crenson.

Full abstract below.


 Background: While there is general agreement that antibiotic prophylaxis for percutaneous gastrostomy (PEG) tube insertion reduces the risk of infection at the site of placement (Lipp A, Cochrane Review 2013), optimal antibiotic selection and regimen remain unclear; as a result, there is widespread practice variation.  In addition, in order to limit the development of bacterial resistance and complications from antibiotic use (eg. Clostridium difficile infection), antibiotic stewardship programs have aimed to limit antibiotic usage, particularly broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Methods: From December 1, 2016 through May 1, 2018, the charts of all patients who underwent PEG tube placement in our children’s hospital were reviewed.  This period coincided with an optional practice change in antibiotic prophylaxis.  Prior to the study period, the typical patient received prophylaxis with a three-dose regimen of cefoxitin.  During the study period, at the discretion of the gastroenterologist, patients received either a three-dose regimen of cefoxitin (n=38) or treatment with cefazolin (n=109); 73 patients received a single dose of cefazolin prior to PEG placement and 36 received multiple doses.  The initial dose of either regimen was given within thirty minutes of placement.  All patients were observed for at least 24 hours.  In patients with PEG tube site infections based on clinical assessment, rescue antibiotic treatment was prescribed.

Results: In total, 144 subjects had PEG placement. The main indications for PEG placement were swallow dysfunction (56.2%), poor growth (17.6%), feeding aversions (18.9%) and malignancy (6%).  In the cefoxitin group, clinical infection occurred in 3 of 35 (8.6%).  In the cefazolin group, clinical infection occurred in 20 of 109 (18.3%). In the subset of patients who received multiple doses of cefazolin, the clinical infection rate was 6 of 36 (16.7%). Patients in the cefazolin group had a 2.39 times higher odds (95% CI  0.667-8.612) of infection compared to the cefoxitin group. Although rates of infection were more than twice as high in the cefazolin group compared to the cefoxitin group, this association did not differ statistically using a chi square test (x^2 = 1.89, p = 0.20).

Conclusion: This study highlights the ongoing uncertainty regarding optimal antibiotic prophylaxis for PEG tube placement.  The difference in the clinical infection rate between cefazolin and cefoxitin was not statistically significant; however, the absolute rate of infection in the cefazolin group was more than twice as high as the cefoxitin group and this may influence selection of antibiotic prophylaxis for PEG tube insertion.


PEG Decisions

In pediatric gastroenterology, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placement is not typically a palliative measure and there is a very low mortality rate.  In adult medicine, PEG tube placements are often part of palliative care and used to allow easier management in nursing homes.

A few studies this past month highlight the mortality and potential ethical dilemmas focused around PEG tube placement.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 11: 1437-44.  “In-hospital mortality was 10.8% among 181,196 patients who underwent PEG in 2006.”

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 11: 1445-50.  Between 2004-2010, among 1327 patients with prospectively collected data from 2 UK hospitals, 344 (23%) did not undergo gastrostomy placement after multidisciplinary team discussion. This group had 35.5% mortality at 30 days compared with 11.2% of the 1027 who proceeded with PEG.  Age >60 and low albumin were predictors of 30-day mortality.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 11: 1451-52.  The editorial on these two studies tries to redirect the focus from futility to quality of life in terms of PEG decision-making.  “An objective scoring system to predict survival, minimize futility, and promote justice in the allocation of resources toward PEG placement is not the direction endoscopists should be taking.” If, for example, PEG tube provides palliative decompression for outlet obstruction or allows transfer to nursing home, this may align with the principle of patient autonomy.  The editorial argues that if the potential goals of PEG placement can be met, this is the key factor.

Bottomline: Information on outcomes and potential futility should be discussed as part of the informed consent process.  But, I bet this will not make those decisions any easier.

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