A team from the Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, in The Netherlands, investigated differences in complication rate and long-term functioning between polyurethane and silicone percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) catheters.
106 patients were randomized to receive either a polyurethane catheter (50) or silicone catheter (56). They were monitored for the occurrence of complications for 28 days after placement of the catheter.
Complication occurance 4 times higher in silicone PEGs.
During the first four weeks, complications occurred four times with polyurethane and 17 times with silicone PEGs (relative risk 3.8, 95%CI: 1.37-10.5). Major complications occurred twice with both types of catheter.
Long-term PEG survival data (available in 96 patients) were obtained retrospectively from Hospital and GP medical records. Seven polyurethane PEGs and 10 silicone PEGs were removed because of PEG malfunction. Median complication-free survival was 916 days for the polyurethane catheter, but 354 days for the silicone tube (Log rank test: P = 0.24).
Dr Van Den Hazel observed that whilst polyurethane PEGs were associated with less short-term complications, "major complications and long-term function were comparable" for the two catheter types.