Published online May 27, 2023. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v15.i5.940
Peer-review started: December 21, 2022
First decision: January 17, 2023
Revised: January 28, 2023
Accepted: April 7, 2023
Article in press: April 7, 2023
Published online: May 27, 2023
Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a well-established, minimally invasive, and easy to perform procedure for nutrition delivery, applied to individuals unable to swallow for various reasons. PEG has a high technical success rate of insertion between 95% and 100% in experienced hands, but varying complication rates ranging from 0.4% to 22.5% of cases.
To discuss the existing evidence of major procedural complications in PEG, mainly focusing on those that could probably have been avoided, had the endoscopist been more experienced, or less self-confident in relation to the basic safety rules for PEG performance.
After a thorough research of the international literature of a period of more than 30 years of published “case reports” concerning such complications, we critically analyzed only those complications which were considered - after assessment by two experts in PEG performance working separately - to be directly related to a form of malpractice by the endoscopist.
Malpractice by the endoscopist were considered cases of: Gastrostomy tubes passed through the colon or though the left lateral liver lobe, bleeding after puncture injury of large vessels of the stomach or the peritoneum, peritonitis after viscera damage, and injuries of the esophagus, spleen, and pancreas.
For a safe PEG insertion, the overfilling of the stomach and small bowel with air should be avoided, the clinician should check thoroughly for the proper trans-illumination of the light source of the endoscope through the abdominal wall and ensure endoscopically visible imprint of finger palpation on the skin at the center of the site of maximum illumination, and finally, the physician should be more alert with obese patients and those with previous abdominal surgery.
Core Tip: For a safe percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy insertion, the physician should avoid overfilling the stomach and small bowel with air, check thoroughly for the proper trans-illumination of the light source of the endoscope through the abdominal wall, ensure endoscopically visible imprint of finger palpation on the skin at the center of the site of maximum illumination, and be more alert with obese patients and those with previous abdominal surgery.