Feeding Tube Replacement

Your feeding tube has been replaced. Unless you are told otherwise, you may resume your usual feeding schedule. Depending on your type of feeding tube, tubes are usually replaced every 3 to 12 months or sooner if the tube falls out, gets clogged, deteriorates, or has other complications.

Home care

The following will help you care for yourself at home:

  • Continue feedings as usual.

    • Wash your hands with soap and clean, running water before preparing the formula or touching the feeding tube.

    • Because the tube is narrow, use only commercial feeding formulas so the tube won't get clogged. These formulas are designed to provide all the protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice (or the registered dietitian or nurse who is working with you) regarding the number of feedings to give each day.

    • Flush the tube with clear water before and after feedings or after medicine has been given through the tube. This is very important. Otherwise, the tube can get blocked. The amount of water you use varies depending on your age, health condition, and specific case. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for you.

    • When feeding, sit upright or don't recline more than 30 degrees. This lowers the risk of the feeding solution draining incorrectly and causing aspiration into the lungs. Stay in this position for at least 30 minutes after the feeding.

    • Infuse food slowly. It may take more than 1 hour for each feeding session.

  • Flush with a syringe full of water if the tube becomes blocked.

  • If you feel bloated after feeding, remove the cap from the end of the tube so that extra air in the stomach can flow out. Cough to help remove the extra air.

  • You will need oral and dental care even if you are not taking any food or liquids by mouth. Brush your teeth and gums every day. Keep your lips moist with a lip balm or petroleum jelly.

  • Make sure the external bolster of the tube is not pressing tightly against your skin.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of the following occur:

  • Chest pain

  • Trouble breathing

When to seek medical care

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Feeding tube becomes blocked and you are not able to clear it

  • Feeding tube falls out

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Leakage of stomach contents around the tube onto the abdomen

  • Pain or swelling in your abdomen that gets worse

  • Redness, pus, or bleeding at the insertion site

  • Vomiting of tube feeding

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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