ABSTRACT: Chemoradiation of head and neck cancer induces severe dysphagia and malnutrition, which may lead to interruptions in therapy and reduction in its efficacy. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feedings bypass the oropharynx, allowing administration of nutrients and medications into the stomach, thus preventing malnutrition, dehydration, and treatment interruption.
Medical records of 161 patients treated for head and neck cancer who had PEGs placed prior to chemoradiation and 2 PEGs placed during chemoradiation were reviewed from the date of PEG placement throughout treatment and utilization. The objective was to determine the contribution of pretreatment PEGs to the therapy of patients with head and neck cancer and to optimize their body mass index.
Severe chemoradiation-induced dysphagia developed in 160 patients (98%), necessitating PEG utilization for feeding and hydration. PEGs were used for a mean 251 +/- 317 days. Significant complications related to PEG placement and utilization were infrequent. PEG feeding allowed chemoradiation to continue without interruption in 93% of patients. Individualized feeding regimens optimized body mass index in obese and overweight patients with a decline from 33.0 +/- 3.4 to 28.4 +/- 4.8 kg/m(2) (P < .001) and 27.3 +/- 1.5 to 24.6 +/- 2.7 kg/m(2) (P < .001), respectively. Radiation-induced strictures developed in 12% of patients, requiring endoscopic dilatation.
Enteral feeding through prechemoradiation-placed PEGs is an effective and safe method for nutrition and hydration of patients with head and neck cancer undergoing chemoradiation. PEGs allowed chemoradiation to proceed with minimal interruptions despite severe dysphagia, which excluded oral intake for prolonged periods.
Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 33(4):404-10. · 3.29 Impact Factor