Serum zinc evolution in dysphagic patients that underwent endoscopic gastrostomy for long term enteral feeding

Carla Adriana Santos, Jorge Fonseca, MTM Lopes, Elisabete Carolino, António Sousa Guerreiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: Patients undergoing endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) present with protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) but little is known about zinc status. Our aim was to evaluate serum zinc, its relationship with serum proteins and with the nature of the underlying disorder, during the first 3 months of PEG feeding. Methods and Study Design: Prospective observational study during a 3-month period after gastrostomy. Data was collected at initial PEG procedure (T0), after 4 (T1) and 12 weeks (T3). Initial evaluation included: age, gender, disorder causing dysphagia, Neurological Dysphagia (ND) or Head and Neck Cancer (HNC), NRS-2002, BMI, albumin, transferrin, zinc. At T1 and T3, a blood sample was collected for zinc, albumin, transferrin. Serum zinc evaluation was performed with ICP-AES - Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. Patients were fed with homemade meals. Results: A total of 146 patients (89 males), 21-95 years were studied: HNC-56, ND-90 and low BMI in 78. Initial low zinc in 122; low albumin in 77, low transferrin in 94; low values for both proteins in 66. Regarding the serum protein evolution, their levels increase T0-T3, most patients reaching normal values. zinc has a slower evolution, most patients still displaying low zinc at T3. Significant differences between the 3 moments for zinc (p=0.011), albumin (p < 0.0001) and transferrin (p=0.014). Conclusion: PEG patients are prone to PEM and zinc deficiency. Most patients present decreased zinc, suggesting that zinc deficiency is common in PEG candidates and is not corrected during 3 months of enteral feeding. Zinc deficiency should be expected and teams taking care of PEG patients should use zinc supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Dysphagia
  • Endoscopic gastrostomy
  • Malnutrition
  • Serum zinc


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