Healthcare costs associated with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy among older adults in a defined community

Christopher M. Callahan, Nancy N. Buchanan, Timothy E. Stump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: The effectiveness of percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) in older adults remains controversial. Although prior studies have examined the safety of PEG and its impact on nutrition, there are limited data on the economic costs. The purpose of this study is to describe the healthcare costs associated with PEG tube feeding over 1 year. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Small community of approximately 60,000 residents served by two hospital systems. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred five (70%) of 150 patients age 60 and older receiving PEG over a 24-month period in the targeted community who permitted access to their medical records. MEASUREMENTS: Patients were interviewed at baseline and every 2 months for 1 year to obtain information on use of enteral formula, complication rates, and health services use. We obtained inpatient charge data for all hospitalizations and PEG procedures for 1 year. RESULTS: Censoring patients at death or 1 year post-PEG, the mean number of days of PEG tube feeding was 180 (range 5-365). The average cost for PEG tube feeding for this cohort of patients was $7,488 (median $3,691) in 1997 and 1998. The average daily cost of PEG tube feeding was $87.21 (median $33.50). The estimated cost of providing 1 year of feeding via PEG is $31,832 (median $12,227). The main components of this cost include the initial PEG procedure (29.4%), enteral formula (24.9%), and hospital charges for major complications (33.4%). CONCLUSIONS: Direct charges associated with PEG tube feeding over 1 year are conservatively estimated at $31,832; there was considerable variation in charges because of the cost of rare but costly major complications. Also, feeding patients via PEG resulted in cost shifts in terms of the primary payor. The economic cost of PEG tube feeding is another consideration in decision making for long-term enteral feeding among older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1529
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 22 2001


  • Endoscopic
  • Enteral feeding
  • Gastronomy
  • Healthcare costs
  • Percutaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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