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Diagnosis / Feeding Tube

Many medical conditions and disorders require the use of feeding tubes. These tubes are used as nutritional support for patients who would otherwise be unable to attain proper nutrition by mouth. Tube feeding can help people with the following:

  • Problems with their mouth, food pipe (oesophagus), or stomach
  • Swallowing problems that put them at risk of choking or aspirating
  • Difficulty managing to take enough food by mouth to meet daily nutritional needs

Adequate nutrition is essential to maintain body weight, and in some cases to improve recovery, response to treatments, and maintain independence. If you are unable tolerate food taken by mouth, or your body cannot absorb what you eat overtime you could become malnourished.

What is Tube Feeding?

Tube feeding is a way of providing your body with the nutrition it needs. A tube feed is a liquid form of nourishment that is delivered to your body through a small flexible tube. Nutrients patients receive within the tube feed are similar to what you would get from normal food, and are also digested in the same way. Your healthcare team will determine the best type of feed for based on your nutritional requirements.

Types of Feeding Tubes

  • Nasogastric feeding tube (NG) – inserted through the nose, down the oesophagus and into the stomach. Usually for short term use, 6-8 weeks.
  • Nasojejunal (NJ) feeding tube – inserted through the nose, down the oesophagus, through the stomach and into the small intestine (jejunum). Used when feeding into the stomach is not an option.
  • Gastrostomy tube – inserted directly into the stomach through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin. Used for long-term use, greater than 6 weeks.
  • Jejunostomy tube – inserted through the stomach and into the small intestine (jejunum) or directly into the small intestine (jejunum) through a small incision in the abdomen’s skin. Used for long-term use, greater than 6 weeks.

Your healthcare team will recommend the type of feeding tube that is best for you.

When should I Consider Getting a Feeding Tube?

  • When nutrition is insufficient, as documented through lab values, patient’s own report or clinical signs
  • When hydration is insufficient
  • When noticeable weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration are present
  • When difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) occurs on a consistent basis
  • When food or liquid taken through the mouth going down the windpipe and into the lungs (aspiration) is suspected.

IVC’s Treatments for Patients Requiring Tube Feedings

If you and your doctor have decided that a feeding tube is right for you, IVC offers outpatient placement of both gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes. To schedule an appointment for a consultation, please call us at 503-612-0498.

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