When medication and diet have failed, or if a patient is becoming too malnourished, the next step is often a feeding tube. Many people get very anxious when feeding tubes are mentioned which is very understandable but in most cases, they can really improve the quality of life and help you to maintain a healthy weight.
Fear no more and have a look below at some common feeding tubes and formula feeds. Please let us know if you have any specific questions related to feeding tubes, we are always happy to help if we can!
Percutanious Endonscopic Gastrostomy Tube (PEG)
This is a minor surgical procedure usually performed in endoscopy. The tube is inserted through the wall of the abdomen into the stomach. They can be used for feeding or drainage of fluids.
This is a more invasive procedure, performed in theatre under general anaesthetic. The tube is placed directly into the bowel through a small surgical opening. There are several types of tubes used. Some have a bumper to fix the tube internally and some are tunnelled under the skin and graft into place. They are used as a long term treatment for malnourishment in Gastroparesis. They bypass the role of the stomach therefore are tolerated by a larger percentage of patients and are much more discreet and reliable than nasal tubes.
PEG-J or G/J Tube
These might sound more like a photo image to most people these days but they are actually a combination of the first two tubes combined. They are placed like the gastrostomy tube but have a longer tube inside which can be passed into the jejumum via the stomach. Its a simpler procedure often favoured in motility patients as it avoids disturbing the bowel when placed. It also allows you to vent the stomach to relieve vomiting.
Central lines are considered as a last resort option. They are used to feed nutrients, fluids and medications directly into the blood stream. There are several types of lines:
Central Venous Catheter (CVC)
Central lines need to be carefully looked after under sterile conditions. Please take a look at our TPN section to find out more about Intravenous feeding
Find out more about these in our TPN section! >>