Patient selection for pediatric gastrostomy tubes: Are we placing tubes that are not being used?

Jordan E. Jackson, Christina M. Theodorou, Olivia Vukcevich, Erin G. Brown, Alana L. Beres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Identifying pediatric patients who may benefit from gastrostomy tube (GT) placement can be challenging. We hypothesized that many GTs would no longer be in use after 6 months. Methods: Inpatient GT placements in patients < 18 years old at a tertiary children's hospital from 9/2014 to 2/2020 were included. The primary outcome was GT use <6 months (short-term). Secondary outcomes included age at placement, indication for GT, and operations for GT-related issues. Results: Fifteen percent (22/142) of GTs were used for <6 months post-operatively. The median duration of short-term GT use was 1.6 months (IQR 0.9–3.4 months). Short-term GTs were more likely to be placed in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) (18.2% vs. 4.2%, p = 0.03) and adolescents (≥12 years old, 22.7% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.005). Gastrocutaneous fistula closure was required in 33.3% of short-term patients who had their GTs removed (n = 6/18), with median total hospital charges of $29,989 per patient. Conclusion: Fifteen percent of pediatric GTs placed as inpatients were used for <6 months, more commonly among adolescents and in TBI patients. One-third of patients with short-term GTs required gastrocutaneous fistula closure. Adolescents and TBI patients may benefit from consideration of short-term nasogastric tube (NGT) feeds rather than surgical GT placement. Level of Evidence: III

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Enteral access
  • Feeding tube
  • Gastrostomy tube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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