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Original research
Rate of paediatric gastrostomy insertion in England and relationship to epidemiology of cerebral palsy


Background and objectives Gastrostomy tubes are commonly used to provide an alternative route for enteral nutrition. Most of the gastrostomies are inserted in children with cerebral palsy. Previous studies have shown an increase in insertion rate, however, epidemiological studies reveal a stasis in prevalence of cerebral palsy. We aimed to provide an up-to-date rate of gastrostomy insertion in children in England over a 20-year period and systematically review the prevalence of cerebral palsy to ascertain an epidemiological explanation for insertion trends.

Methods Retrospective search of Hospital Episode Statistic, a database held diagnosis and procedural code from all England National Health Service hospitals from 2000 to 2021 using International Classification of Disease-10 and Office of Population Censuses and Survey’s Classification-4. England Office for National Statistics data were used for population census. MEDLINE and EMBASE were systematically searched for epidemiology of cerebral palsy.

Results There were 23 079 gastrostomies inserted in children <15 years in England (2000–2021) leading to a frequency of 12.4 insertions per 100 000 children per year and 1383 gastrostomy insertions in 15–18 years age group (6 per 100 000). The overall gastrostomy insertion rate in children <15 years has increased from 3.7 procedures per 100 000 in 2000 to 18.3 per 100 000 in 2017. Prevalence of cerebral palsy remained stable (1.5–3.3 per 1000 birth) since 1985.

Conclusions There was a significant increase in the rate of gastrostomy insertion in children in England during most of the last 20 years not explained by a stable prevalence of cerebral palsy.


Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data are available on reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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