Since the report of Farris and Smith3 in 1956, temporary tube gastrostomy has been more frequently used to replace the nasogastric tube when prolonged postoperative gastric suction is anticipated. The complications and discomfort caused by the nasogastric tube are well known.2-4 The benefits and complications of the gastrostomy have been adequately reviewed.8-11 As yet, however, there has been no report in which the postoperative morbidity and mortality accompanying each of these 2 methods of decompression has been compared. Such a study should provide objective evidence to support practical indications and contraindications for a temporary tube gastrostomy. In this study the postoperative complication and mortality rates have been compared in 2 groups of patients. In one group, gastrostomy was used, and in the other, nasogastric suction.
Both groups of patients were operated upon during the same 5 year period, 1956 to 1961. The decision for or against a