Surgeon John Blomberg Physicians performing Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) may operate a silicone tube for gastric feeding directly through the abdominal wall into the stomach. This method is supposedly employed on patients who are unable to swallow and eat in the usual way for acquiring nutrients. A groundbreaking study suggests that high CRP and low levels of the protein albumin in the blood heightens risk of death after a PEG-operation.

While conducting the study, 484 patients at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm County from 2005 to 2009 were assessed. From 167 patients with the combination of low albumin and high CRP, more than 34 patients forming 20 percent died within 30 days. Presumably, the mortality rate for patients reporting in such risk indicators was less than 3 percent. Factors such as age, sex and underlying diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases including stroke and neurological diseases were taken into consideration.

John Blomberg, surgeon and one of the investigators, added, “It may be worth trying to treat high CRP and provide the patient with nutrition with alternative methods, and then come back for PEG insertion if the infection has subsided and the patient feels better. In addition, the treating physician should inform the patient, relatives and remittent about the risks of PEG insertion, especially when the markers for premature death are so strong.”

Throughout the study a total of 58 patients succumbed to death. Albumin, the most abundant protein in the blood seems to be vital for keeping the blood fluid in blood vessels. Scientists believe that CRP is a part of the immune system, and heightens considerably in the concentration of bacterial infections and other inflammatory conditions.

The study was published in the scientific journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.