Esophageal feeding tube placement and the associated complications in 248 cats

Craig Breheny, Alisdair Boag, Davina Anderson, Matteo Cantatore, Marjorie Chandler, S. E. Holm, Alice Le Gal, Timothy Nuttall, Danielle Gunn-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Esophageal feeding tubes are commonly utilized to allow nutritional demands to be met in animals that are unable or unwilling to achieve this themselves. The placement of these tubes is relatively easy and they are well tolerated; however, they are not entirely without side effects.
Objectives: To evaluate the complications associated with esophageal tube placement in cats across two referral centers, and to identify whether there were any factors predisposing to these complications, including stoma site infection and death.
Animals: Cats which had an esophageal feeding tube placed (n = 248).
Methods: Clinical records were interrogated across two referral centres to find cats that had esophageal tubes placed. Clinical data was collected for signalment, clinical indication, method of placement, time of removal and any complications. Logistic regression was then employed to assess the odds of an increase in complications, including infection, and death, over several variables.
Results: The median time that the tubes were in place for, in those cats that survived to discharge, was 11 days. Complications occurred in 35.8% of the cats, with the most common being tube dislodgement (14.5%), followed by stoma site infections (12.1%). Cats which survived to discharge had a complication rate of 48%, with varying degrees of severity. In the multivariate models, cats receiving immunosuppressive medications (OR = 3.91) and experiencing discharge at the stoma site (OR = 159.8) were at an increased odds of developing a stoma site infection, whereas those with a lower weight (OR = 0.75) and certain disease processes (pancreatic (OR = 4.33), neoplastic (OR = 15.44), respiratory (OR = 19.66), urogenital (OR = 5.78), and infectious diseases (OR = 11.57)) had increased odds of death. The duration of time in place and the patient being discharged with the tube in place were not associated with an increased risk of infection or mortality.
Conclusions and clinical importance: The risk of complications is relatively high at 35.8%, with infections identified in 12.1% of cases. Patients receiving immunosuppressive medications are at a higher risk of infection, and this should be taken into account when placing and maintaining esophageal feeding tubes. The duration of time in place and the patient being discharged with the tube in place were not associated with an increased risk of infection or mortality. Esophageal feeding tubes can be a crucial part of patient management; however, owners should be made aware of the potential risks involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1306-1314
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Volume33
Early online date19 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2019

Keywords

  • : Esophageal feeding tube
  • Oesophageal feeding tube
  • E-tube
  • O-tube
  • Oesophagostomy
  • Esophagostomy

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