Background and Aim: Notwithstanding multiple recommendations in guidelines, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG)-tube placement is still performed in patients with dementia. In this study, we aim to investigate survival in patients with and without dementia after PEG-tube placement. Methods: We conducted a retrospective multicenter study in four different hospitals in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we explored the ethical considerations that may play a role in the decision whether or not to insert a PEG tube in a patient with dementia. Results: Three-hundred-and-three patients were included, mean age of 77.4 years. Fortytwo (13.9%) patients had dementia. Short-term complications did not differ between patients with and without cognitive disorders (P 0.224). However, patients with dementia survived significantly shorter after PEG placement than did patients without dementia. Adjusted for age and sex, patients with dementia had a 49% increased risk of mortality (hazard ratio 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.01–2.19). In our exploratory literature search, we found that several ethical concerns and considerations play a role in the decision process of PEG placement. These considerations are both medical and nonmedical and include beliefs regarding the benefits of a PEG tube, a lack of knowledge about the natural course of dementia in both professionals and family of patients, and a fear of letting a patient die hungry. Conclusions: Patients with dementia had higher mortality rates after PEG placement than patients without dementia. Although multiple ethical concerns and considerations play a role, insertion of a PEG tube in patients with dementia is not appropriate.

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Keywords cognition disorders, dementia, ethics, gastrostomy, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.
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Journal Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
van Bruchem-Visser, R.L, Mattace Raso, F.U.S, de Beaufort, I.D, & Kuipers, E.J. (2018). Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy in older patients with and without dementia: Survival and ethical considerations. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 34(4), 736–741. doi:10.1111/jgh.14573