Gastrostomy tube placement and use in patients with head and neck cancer

Julie L. Locher, James A. Bonner, William R. Carroll, Jimmy J. Caudell, Meredith L. Kilgore, Christine S. Ritchie, David L. Roth, Gabriel S. Tajeu, Ya Yuan, Jeroan J. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Enteral nutritional support is used in care for patients with head and neck cancer. This study describes the frequency and timing of gastrostomy tube placement and corresponding Medicare nutritional support claims in patients with head and neck cancer. Methods Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data for patients with head and neck cancer diagnosed from 2000 to 2005 were used in this descriptive study (N = 16,458). Results In all, 35.1% of patients undergoing treatment had gastrostomy tubes placed; 16.9% had tubes placed before treatment, whereas 83.1% had them placed after treatment. Of those having tubes placed prior to treatment 23.7% had Medicare claims for nutritional support before treatment and 40.9% had claims after treatment began. A total of 35.4% of patients who had tubes placed before treatment and 35.5% who had tubes placed after treatment had no claims for nutritional support. Conclusions Future work is warranted to identify predictors and outcomes associated with provision and timing of enteral nutrition support for patients with head and neck cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-428
Number of pages7
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • gastrostomy tube
  • head and neck cancer
  • nutritional support
  • percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube
  • prophylactic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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