BMC geriatrics 2017 11 2117(1) 267 doi 10.1186/s12877-017-0662-6
It is widely supposed that there is no benefit, including extended survival and decreased rate of pneumonia, in patients with severe dementia receiving enteral tube feeding (TF). However, there have been few studies comparing the frequency of pneumonia before and after TF in severe dementia.
Nine psychiatric hospitals in Okayama Prefecture participated in this retrospective survey. All inpatients fulfilling the entry criteria were evaluated. All subjects suffered from difficulty in oral intake. Attending physicians thought that the patients could not live without long-term artificial nutrition, and they decided whether or not to make use of long-term artificial nutrition from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
We evaluated 58 patients including 46 with TF and 12 without. The mean age of all patients was 79.6 ± 9.0 years old. Patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease (n = 38) formed the biggest group, and those with vascular dementia the second (n = 14). Median survival times were 23 months among patients with TF and two months among patients without TF. The start of TF decreased the frequency of pneumonia and the use of intravenous antibiotics.
TF decreased pneumonia and antibiotic use, even in patients with severe dementia. The results of this study do not necessarily indicate that we should administer TF to patients with severe dementia. We should consider the quality of life of patients carefully before deciding the use or disuse of TF for patients with severe dementia.