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Knowledge For Enteral Feeding Tube

September 06,2023

Enteral refers to within the digestive system or intestine.

enteral feeding tubes allow liquid food to enter your stomach or intestine through a tube. The soft, flexible tube enters a surgically created opening in the abdominal wall called an ostomy. An enterostomy tube in the stomach is called a gastrostomy. A tube in the small intestine is called a jejunostomy. The site on the abdomen where the tube is inserted is called a stoma. The location of the stoma depends on your specific operation and the shape of your abdomen.


Cancer, trauma, nervous system and digestive system disorders, and congenital birth defects can cause difficulty in feeding. Some people also have difficulty swallowing, which increases the chance that they will breathe in food (aspirate). People who have difficulties feeding can benefit from a feeding tube. Your doctor will explain to you the specific reasons why you or your family member need a feeding tube. For some, a feeding tube is a new way of life, but for others, the tube is temporary and used until the problem can be treated or repaired.


When food enters your oral cavity (mouth), the lips and tongue move it toward the back of the throat. The throat (pharynx) is the passageway leading from the mouth and nose to the esophagus and larynx (voice box). At the back of the throat, two tubes form. The trachea (airway) carries air to the lungs. The esophagus (feeding tube) moves the food down into the stomach. When food moves into the esophagus, the opening at the top of the esophagus (sphincter) tightens to stop the upward movement of the food. The pharynx acts as a doorway. When food is passing, the opening to the airway closes. When food reaches the stomach, it is broken down into very small pieces. It then moves into the small intestine, where enzymes break down food into thick liquid. This thick liquid passes further through the small intestine, where nutrients, vitamins, and water are absorbed. The liquid then passes through the large intestine (colon). Water is absorbed from the stool in the colon. It becomes more solid and eventually moves out through the rectum.



The type of feeding tube and the procedure to place it will depend on the patient’s condition, age, and other health factors. Feeding tubes can vary in length and number of ports or openings. The main types of tubes include: f Long gastric tubes connect directly to tubing or syringes for feedings. They may have 1 or 2 ports as well as a port for placement of water into the internal balloon. f Low-profile gastric tubes or gastric buttons lay flat on the abdomen when not in use and require an extension set to be attached for feedings. They also may have a port for placement of water into the internal balloon. f Gastro-jejunostomy tubes (GJ-tubes or low-profile GJ-buttons) pass through the stomach and into the small intestine (jejunum). Feedings and medication can be delivered into the stomach or small intestine depending on the patient’s needs. These usually have separate ports for the stomach and the jejunum as well as a port for placement of water into the internal balloon. f Jejunostomy tubes (J-tubes) enter the jejunum (small intestine) directly and allow slow feedings to the jejunum only. These look similar to long gastric tubes.