Background: Percutaneous endoscopic placement of a gastrostomy tube is a common procedure to provide feeding access in children. The practice has been to withhold the initial feeding for a prescribed length of time because of safety concerns. The shortest reported time to feeding in pediatric patients is 6 hours.
Patients and Methods: A prospective randomized trial was devised to compare the tolerance of feedings at 3 and 6 hours after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement. The change in abdominal girth before and 1 hour after the initial feeding, any vomiting, and the gastric residual volume before the next feeding were recorded. The length of stay was also documented.
Results: Forty successive patients who met the entry criteria were enrolled, with 20 in each group. There were no statistical differences between the groups for age or sex distribution. There were no significant differences in the recorded episodes of emesis from either group (median value 0 in both groups, P = 0.82). The changes in abdominal girths were also similar and statistically not significantly different (median values 0 for 3 hours vs 0.5 cm for 6 hours, P = 0.29). Gastric residual volumes were low overall and not different depending on the time that feedings were started (median value 0 in both groups, P = 0.47). The length of stay was statistically the same between the 3- and 6-hour feeding groups (median values 30.7 hours for 3 hours vs 30.0 hours for 6 hours, P = 0.92).
Conclusions: Feedings after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement can be started as soon as 3 hours after the procedure is completed with no increase in complications.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA.
Received 27 March, 2009
Accepted 1 August, 2009
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Riley Hospital for Children, 702 Barnhill Dr, ROC 4210, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors report no conflicts of interest.