Background information: Tube feeding

Nastrogastric tube (NG) The nutrients are supplied through a thin tube (hose) that is introduced via the nose, through the throat and oesophagus to the opening of the upper part of the small intestine. Before the hose is inserted, it is measured to fit the patient. When the hose is introduced through the throat, the patient may choke or find it difficult to breathe. The process goes more smoothly if the patient helps it along by swallowing as the hose is introduced. Care must also be taken to ensure that the hose is introduced into the oesophagus and not the lungs. Once placed, it can stay there for an extended period.

Gastrostomy tube (GT) This type of tube is suited to longer periods of enteral nutrition. The tube goes directly into the stomach via the abdominal wall, and is secured to the stomach by means of a button, PEG, which is installed using a gastroscope. It is important to make sure the PEG is unobstructed before each time it is used. The PEG must be rinsed in accordance with instructions, and the area around the PEG must be cleaned every day. A doctor or nurse should be contacted in the event of leakage.

Button: A button is a PEG that lies flat near the skin.

Jejunostomy (JT) This is a gastrostomy tube that is installed in the small intestine, instead of the stomach. This tube is thinner than the one used as a gastrostomy tube.