Gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes) can get clogged, making feeding impossible. Regular preventive care of a G-tube reduces the likelihood of clogs, but it does not eliminate clogs 100 per cent of the time. Some people are more prone to clogs than others. It is important to remove a clog as soon as it is noticed. G-tube clogs can often be removed at home. When home care fails to remove clogs, medical attention must be sought.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 60cc syringe
Wash your hands with soap and water to reduce the chances of introducing bacteria into the feeding tube.
Insert a 60cc syringe into the end of the feeding tube.
Pull the plunger back to suction the clog out of the feeding tube. If this does not work, go to the next step.
Fill a cup with warm water. Add a feeding tube unclogging medication to the water if one has been prescribed by your doctor.
Put the end of the syringe into the cup and pull the plunger back to draw the water up into the syringe. Completely fill the syringe with warm water.
Insert the syringe into the end of the feeding tube.
Push the plunger in gently to release the warm water into the feeding tube and to flush out the clog. Avoid forcing the water into the tube. If the warm water does not remove the clog, get medical assistance from a doctor or at the emergency room.
Prevent future clogs in the feeding tube by using a syringe to flush warm water through the feeding tube before and after every feeding. Ask a doctor for a recommendation on the proper amount of water to use for regular G-tube flushing.
Tips and warnings
- If clogs develop regularly in the feeding tube, ask a doctor to prescribe a tube unclogging medication.
- This is not meant to replace or act as medical advice. Seek the advice of a medical professional when dealing with feeding tube problems.
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