Enteral Feeding

Enteral feeding, or tube feeding, is a way to deliver nutrients through a tube if you cannot take food or drink through your mouth. In some cases, you may only need tube feeding for a short period of time during your hospital stay. In other cases, you may need to go home with the tube in place and continue to receive nutrition this way. It may be temporary or permanent. Depending on your condition, you may have a tube that leads from the: Nose to the stomach (nasogastric) ; Abdominal wall to the stomach ( gastrostomy ) ; Abdominal wall to the intestines ( enterostomy ) Gastrostomy TubeCopyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Call Your Doctor


    If you have tube feeding at home, you will be instructed to call your doctor right away if you have:

    • Clogged tube
    • Dislodged tube (most common during the first two weeks)
    • Choking or difficulty breathing during the feeding
    • Leaking of formula around the tube
    • Redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, or discharge at the stoma site
    • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal swelling
    • Severe abdominal pain
    • Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement
    • Diarrhea
    • Dehydration
      (eg, dry mouth, urinating infrequently, dark and/or bad smelling urine)

  • Definition

    Enteral feeding, or tube feeding, is a way to deliver nutrients through a tube if you cannot take food or drink through your mouth. In some cases, you may only need tube feeding for a short period of time during your hospital stay. In other cases, you may need to go home with the tube in place and continue to receive nutrition this way. It may be temporary or permanent.


    Depending on your condition, you may have a tube that leads from the:

    • Nose to the stomach (nasogastric)

    • Abdominal wall to the stomach (
      gastrostomy
      )

    • Abdominal wall to the intestines (
      enterostomy
      )

    Gastrostomy Tube

    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    Tube feeding provides you with proper nutrition when a condition makes it difficult, unsafe, or impossible to take food in through your mouth. Fluids and medicines can also be given through the tube.

  • Possible Complications


    Possible complications of tube feeding include:

    • Diarrhea
      or
      constipation
    • Abdominal cramping or bloating
    • Breakdown of the skin surrounding the feeding tube
    • Irritated or infected stoma (the opening made in the abdomen)
    • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
    • Higher than normal phosphate levels in the blood
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Inhaling the liquid formula into the lungs (aspiration)
    • Clogged or dislodged feeding tube


    If you have
    gastroesophageal reflux
    , you may be at increased risk for vomiting or aspirating.