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Open Access Research article

Patients’ perspectives of living with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)

Lena Martin12*, John Blomberg13 and Pernilla Lagergren1

Author affiliations

1 Unit of Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Norra Stationsgatan 67, 2nd floor, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

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Citation and License

BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:126  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-126

Published: 18 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Since enteral nutrition therapy is the preferred nutritional support for dysphagic patients with a range of diagnoses, PEG has become part of traditional care. However, enteral nutrition with PEG transfers treatment responsibility and activity to the patients and their carers, so the advantages should be discussed. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate patients’ experience of living with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) in order to increase the understanding of patients’ need for support.

Method

In a prospective study at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden, data were collected consecutively at the time of PEG and two months later using a study-specific questionnaire about each patient’s experience of living with a PEG. Fishers exact test was used to test for statistically significant difference at five per cent level.

Results

There were 104 responders (response rate of 70%). Women felt more limited in daily activity compared to men (p = 0.004). Older patients experienced a more limited ability to influence the number of feeding times compared to younger (p = 0.026). Highly educated patients found feeding more time-consuming (p = 0.004). Patients with a cancer diagnosis reported that the PEG feeding interfered with their oral feeding more than patients with a neurological disease (p = 0.009). Patients mostly contacted the PEG outpatient clinic with problems regarding their PEG, and were mainly assisted by their spouse rather than district nurses.

Conclusions

PEG feeding is time-consuming and interferes with daily life. Although 73% was satisfied, patients’ experiences of living with a PEG may be dependent on age, sex, education and diagnosis. Spouses are the main carers for PEG patients at home, and patients prefer to go to the PEG outpatient clinic for help if problems occur.

Keywords:
Experience; Impact; Nutrition; Support