Gastrostomy tubes in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: indications, safety and experience in a tertiary care centre
Aim. The aim of this study is the clinical characterisation of patients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who were indicated for the placement of a gastrostomy tube (G-Tube) in the period 2007-2017 in the Complejo Asistencial Universitario de Salamanca, and to find possible associated prognostic factors.
Material and methods. It is a descriptive study of clinical cases.
Results. Between 2007 and 2017, 139 cases of ALS were assessed and a G-Tube was indicated in 29 of them. Of these 29, on two occasions it was not performed, one due to the patient refusing and the other because of clinical deterioration. Of the total number of G-Tubes, 21 were placed by endoscopy, four by interventional radiology and two by surgery. The main indications were: in 10 cases, for severe dysphagia; in eight cases, for weight loss >10%; and in nine cases, for reduced forced vital capacity <50%. Immediate complications (first 24 hours) included: two intraprocedural desaturations, one ostomy infection, one abdominal pain, one paralytic ileus and one respiratory failure resulting in death. Late complications (first month) include pneumonia, intestinal ischaemia, cellulitis and poor control of secretions. The main cause of death was respiratory failure. The median time elapsed between G-Tube placement and death was 7.89 months. An improvement in analytical nutritional parameters was observed, without showing statistical significance, as a prognostic factor.
Conclusion. G-Tube placement is an effective and safe procedure to ensure enteral nutrition in ALS patients.
Key words. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dysphagia. Gastrostomy tube. Nutrition. Safety. Survival.