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Impact of prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy on malnutrition and quality of life in patients with head and neck cancer — a randomized study




The purpose of this randomized study was to examine if a prophylactic percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) for enteral nutrition could prevent malnutrition, reduce hospital stay, and improve health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


One hundred thirty-four patients with advanced head and neck cancer were randomized to either prophylactic PEG (study group) or clinical praxis (control group). Patients' weight, body mass index (BMI), need for hospitalization, and HRQOL were noted at 7 occasions during 2 years.


No difference in hospital stay was found. After 6 months, HRQOL was significantly better and the weight loss was significantly less in the study group. The number of malnourished patients were consistently about 10% lower in the study group during the first study year. The study group started to use enteral feeding significantly earlier and for a significantly longer time period (p < .0001).


Prophylactic PEG was associated with significantly earlier start and longer use of enteral nutrition, fewer malnourished patients over time, and improved HRQOL at 6 months posttreatment start. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012