Expectations and outcomes of gastric feeding tubes.
PURPOSE: To compare expected outcomes with actual outcomes from tube feeding in adult patients. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This prospective cohort study was conducted in two North Carolina hospitals. Surrogates were interviewed shortly after feeding tube insertion and at 3- and 6-month follow-up; chart abstraction and death certificate review also were carried out. Participants were surrogate decision-makers for consecutive adult patients who received new feeding tubes. RESULTS: There were 288 patients with surrogate decision-makers enrolled. Mean age was 65 years; 30% had a primary diagnosis of stroke, 16% neurodegenerative disorder, 20% head and neck cancer, and 30% other diagnoses. At 3 months, 21% of patients had died, and 6-month mortality was 30%. At 3 months, 38% of survivors were residing in a nursing home, and 27% had the feeding tube removed. Patients were impaired in most activities of daily living (ADLs) with little change over time. Medical complications were common: 25% of patients had decubitus ulcers at 3 months, and 24% had at least one episode of pneumonia. Perceived global quality of life was poor at 4.6 (on a 0-10 scale) at baseline, and surrogates anticipated this would improve to 8.0 with tube feeding. Family surrogates' expectations for improvement from the feeding tube were very high at baseline and remained so at 3 and 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Families' high expectations of benefit from tube feeding are in contrast to clinical outcomes. Providers and families need better information about the outcomes of this common procedure.
Carey, TS; Hanson, L; Garrett, JM; Lewis, C; Phifer, N; Cox, CE; Jackman, A
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