Eliminate Clogged Tube Feeding

Eliminate Clogged Tube Feeding

When beginning tube feeding, there are many steps and directions to follow to make sure you are feeding correctly. Clogged feeding tubes can be common, and can lead to frustration. Feeding tubes can become clogged due to a build - up of formula (or medication) or dried formula due to inadequate flushing between feedings. American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition notes that clogging occurs 12.5 - 45% over the lifetime of a tube. While it is impossible to prevent clogging 100%, there are simple tips and tricks to reduce the possibility of clogging. Monitoring and checking tube flow is the best way to avoid any possibility of clogged tubes.

Clogged tubes can lead to:

Lost delivery of formula.

Increase in cost (supplies, care, tube replacement).

Increase risks for pain and possible infection.


Reason why a tube may clog:

The tube diameter is too narrow for the formula or blend being used. Depending on the tube method being used, the width can vary and should be adjusted. It is recommended to use the largest diameter feeding tube feasible without sacrificing comfort.

Clamps or kinks in the tube can cause obvious obstruction and should be one of the first things checked to make sure that formula can follow freely through the tube at the desired rate. Kinks can be noticed by flushing the tube prior to feeding.

Insufficient or inconsistent water flushes between feedings and medication administration.

Insufficient or inconsistent water flushes between feedings and medication administration.


Prevention checklist:

Flush the tube immediately before and after feedings, it is recommended to use only water to flush tubes, rather than seltzer water or soda. Tube flushing is essential when preventing feeding tube clogs. With continuous feedings, flush at standardized intervals. It is recommended to flush a minimum of 30 mL per flush before and after feeding, and 15 mL before and after medication.

Never combine or mix medications with feedings, instead,flush the tube with water before and after all medications. It is important to talk to your physician or pharmacist about the best way to administer your medications. When possible request medication in liquid form. If liquid form is not available, discuss administration with your physici

If multiple medications are being administered, flush with at least 5 mL of water between each medication and again after the last medication is given. Medications should never be mixed with feedings.

The best method for prevention of clogged tubes is proper education; the type of tube, formula and method of feeding all influence clogged tubes. Cleanliness and regular flushing of the tubes is the best way to avoid any complications when starting tub

* Never crush an enteric-coated, time-released, or sustained-release tablet or capsule.


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