Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is an endoscopic medical procedure in which a tube (PEG tube) is passed into a patient’s stomach through the abdominal wall, most commonly to provide a means of feeding when oral intake is not adequate (for example, because of dysphagia or sedation). This provides enteral nutrition (making use of the natural digestion process of the gastrointestinal tract) despite bypassing the mouth; enteral nutrition is generally preferable to parenteral nutrition (which is only used when the GI tract must be avoided).
The PEG procedure is an alternative to open surgical gastrostomy insertion, and does not require a general anesthetic; mild sedation is typically used. PEG tubes may also be extended into the small intestine by passing a jejunal extension tube (PEG-J tube) through the PEG tube and into the jejunum via the pylorus.
PEG administration of enteral feeds is the most commonly used method of nutritional support for patients in the community. Many stroke patients, for example, are at risk of aspiration pneumonia due to poor control over the swallowing muscles; some will benefit from a PEG performed to maintain nutrition. PEGs may also be inserted to decompress the stomach in cases of gastric volvulus.
How is Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) Performed?
Local anesthesia (usually lidocaine or another spray) is used to anesthetize the throat. An endoscope (a flexible tube with a camera and a light on the end) is passed through the mouth, throat, and esophagus into the stomach. The physician then makes a small incision (cut) in the skin of the abdomen over the stomach and pushes a needle through the skin and into the stomach. The tube for feeding then is pushed through the needle and into the stomach. The tube then is sutured (tied) in place to the skin.
When can the Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Patient go Home (PEG)?
The patient usually can go home the same day or the next morning, unless they are in the hospital for other reasons.