Feeding Tubes are used for various indications in patients with either acute or long-term needs. Critical care, acute care, long-term, and home care nurses provide nutrition and hydration via feeding tubes to patients with inadequate oral intake.
Enteral nutrition, which delivers nutrients directly to the GI tract, is linked to fewer complications than I.V. parenteral nutrition and is preferred in patients with functioning GI tracts. However, tube feedings can lead to mechanical, infectious, and metabolic complications. The most common mechanical complications—those affecting nutrient delivery to patients—are tube dislodgment with complete tube loss, tube displacement, and clogging. Less common mechanical complications include knotting and breakage of the enteral tube and buried bumper syndrome (BBS), associated with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes.
Understanding the various types of feeding tubes helps you manage them. This article describes mechanical complications and offers tips for recognizing, preventing, and troubleshooting them in adult patients.
Key Learning Outcomes
Marilyn Schallom, PhD, RN, CCNS
Dr. Schallom is a research scientist and critical care clinical nurse specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
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