Types of Feeding Tube and their Uses

Feeding tube, what can it be? It is a tube to feed our own body made up of flexible material, used as a medical equipment which has the power to change your life. Feeding tube is used to give nutrition to the body directly through some ways in a liquid form. It is similar to the nutrition you get by eating food and it digests in the same way. The people who are unable to eat or chew themselves due to any medical reason like in prematurity or in unconsciousness etc are given food/ nutrition through feeding tubes.

There are chances of any sort of complications too, like leakage from the tube. Such complications can cause death that’s why it has to be placed inside the cavities very carefully with precautions.

There are different types of feeding tube that compliments different type of health conditions.

Nasogastric Tube

  • Nasogastric tube is made up of rubber or plastic inserted inside your body through nose
  • It carries food and medicine from oesophagus to the stomach.
  • It is used for the short time period like six to eight weeks.
  • Complication in placing or taking out of this tube can be very irritating. (Complications can be known as Epistaxis, Aspiration, Erosions in the nasal cavity and nasopharynx.)
  • This tube is mostly used for the infants.

Procedure:

Before doing this procedure there must be some cleanliness precautions that should be taken. Now when the doctor places the tube and it reaches to pharynx, the patient may gag. Allow him to rest for a movement. At that moment give the patient some water to sip and advance the tube 3-4 inches each time swallows. Once it has reached the stomach close the end of the tube with spigot.

Uses:

  • It is used to feed the fluid when oral intake is not possible.
  • It is used to instil ice cold solutions to control gastric bleeding.
  • To relieve vomiting and distention.
  • To collect gastric juice for diagnostic purposes.

Nasojejunal Feeding Tube:

  • Nasojejunal tube is a small tube that passes through the nose and into the small bowel.
  • Used to nourish the babies who can’t get enough sustenance by eating.
  • It is soft and flexible so it is easy to pass through nose and stomach.
  • Food can be easily absorbed in jejunum (small part of intestine)
  • The pump is used to feed through this tube.
  • There can be complications like nosebleed or injury to the esophagus or stomach while placing the tube.
  • It stays for very long and it has to be changed after every two weeks.

Procedure:

Wash your hands and equipment thoroughly before starting the process of placing the tube while looking at the X-ray. Give your patient some medication to help them relax while the operation. Patient should be in a sitting position and start inserting the tube till it hasn’t reached the jejunum.

Uses:

  • Gastroparesis, It is used to empty your stomach when it is unable to do it in normal fashion.
  • Pervasive Refusal Syndrome, It is a mental disorder in children which is characterized by refusal to eat, drink, talk or any sort of self-care.
  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome, It is a digestive condition in which two arteries in duodenum are compressed which causes partial blockage.
  • Used for weight loss too.

Gastrostomy tubes

  • Gastrostomy tubes are feeding tubes placed through the abdomen cavity into the stomach.
  • It is placed by surgically opening the cavity around the abdomen, the process is called stoma.
  • It can also be placed endoscopically or radiologically.
  • There are further types of G-tube ( PEG tube, Mic-key, Foley Catheter, Pezzer/Malecot)
  • It is placed for at least 2-3 years.
  • It can be very hard and painful to insert the tube.
  • Complications can be related to dislodging.
  • It has to be flushed after every feeding and always use liquid medication.
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Procedure:

In the operation room, first make sure you have cleaned everything. There are different ways to insert the tube.

Endoscopy: patient will be given anaesthesia so they don’t feel much pain. The tube with a small camera and light on the end will be inserted in the stomach through your mouth to examine the suitable area to place the tube. Later then cut the abdomen from that place to insert the feeding tube.

X-Ray: A small tube will be placed through your nose into the stomach to push the air inside the tube so stomach can be inflated. Then later, a small cut will be made in your skin to insert the tube inside.

Surgery: It will be simply done by the surgeons using their equipment to insert the tube.

Uses:

  • Difficulty in swallowing because of anatomic or neurologic disorder.
  • To decrease the risk of aspiration pneumonia.

 

Gastrojejunal Feeding Tube

  • It is a radiologically inserted feeding tube placed in stomach and small intestine of a child used to give alternating way to feed the child.
  • It is a permanent procedure that a person has to live with, his entire life.
  • They are two tubes one in stomach and one in intestine that’s why it is called gastrostomy-jejunostomy tube (G-J).
  • The area should not be scrubbed while cleaning. It should only be wiped with unscented soap.
  • There are many associated risks of this feeding tube like bleeding or infection at the stoma or loss of access to the place where tube is inserted.
  • The tube should be flushed after every 2 weeks with warm water in the connector and side opening of the tube.
  • Tube should be changed after every 3 months.

 

Procedure:

Wash hands and the equipment that will be used properly. Check any signs of complications or risks, if there are no risks then start the procedure. Give a sedative to the patient so they sleep and don’t feel pain or irritation. Lastly, make sure that they are placed in a right place and cover the clean area properly so the tube does not fall out.

Uses:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, It is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, in this disease a person cannot function properly. Hence, the tube is used to feed them.
  • Gastroparesis; it is a diseases in which stomach cannot empty itself of food, that’s why tube is used to empty the stomach.
  • Aspiration Pneumonia is a lung infection that develops after you aspirate food, liquib or vomit in your lungs. So the tube is used to give liquidities directly into your stomach.
  • It will prevent you from choking on food.
  • Myasthenia Gravis, It is a chronic neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles which are responsible of the movements and breathing. So the body is not properly functional that’s why this tube is used.
  • Prevent from nausea.

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