Complications and outcomes of gastrostomy versus nasogastric tube feeding in paediatric allogeneic bone marrow transplant: A prospective cohort study

James Evans, Dan Green, Faith Gibson, Graeme O'Connor, Julie Lanigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & aims: The intensive conditioning regimens administered during bone marrow transplant (BMT) frequently cause mucositis, gastrointestinal toxicity and reduced oral intake. Children are consequently at risk of malnutrition. First-line nutrition support is recommended as enteral nutrition (EN). Nasogastric tube (NGT) is the mainstay for administration. Gastrostomies provide an alternative, but there is limited evidence of their efficacy and safety in paediatric BMT. This study aimed to compare enteral tube complications and nutritional and clinical outcomes between children with a gastrostomy versus NGT throughout BMT. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted at a single centre in the United Kingdom. During pre-admission consultations families were offered choice of a prophylactic gastrostomy or NGT. Children undergoing allogeneic BMT were recruited from April 2021 to April 2022. Data compared between children with either tube included: tube complications, change in weight, body mass index and mid-upper-arm circumference, calorie, protein and fluid intake, timing and use of EN and parenteral nutrition, survival, graft-versus-host disease and length of admission. Following BMT, data were collected weekly for the first six weeks from electronic records, monthly thereafter from 3-day averaged food diaries and clinic assessments, until six months post-BMT. Results: Nineteen children with NGT were compared to 24 with a gastrostomy. Of gastrostomy complications, 94.2% (129/137) were minor, mechanical issues being most common (80/137). Dislodgement comprised 80.2% (109/136) of NGT complications. No significant differences were seen between tubes on nutritional, anthropometric and clinical outcomes. Conclusions: Gastrostomies were popular with families, relatively safe, associated with mostly minor complications and similarly effective as NGTs in supporting children's nutritional intake and status. Where an NGT may not be tolerated, a prophylactic gastrostomy could be considered. Placement of either tube requires balancing their risks, benefits, the child's nutritional status, conditioning, expected duration of EN and family preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
JournalClinical nutrition ESPEN
Early online date2 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


  • Enteral nutrition
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation - adverse effects
  • Enteral Nutrition - adverse effects
  • Gastrostomy
  • Nasogastric tube
  • Humans
  • Gastrostomy - adverse effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pediatric
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Child
  • Complication


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