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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gastrostomy tubes and feedings: A parent's guide

Common problems

Small amounts of leakage from around the tube.
  • You may use a dressing under the gastrostomy tube to keep clothes clean.
  • Granulation tissue.
  • Pink tissue that occurs as a reaction to the tube.
  • It may bleed or produce an odor.
  • This tissue is not of great concern but may lead to leakage around the tube.
  • Make an appointment in the office. We can easily treat this tissue growth.

Redness around the tube.
  • A small area of redness is normal. Infection around a gastrostomy tube is uncommon.
  • If the area is bright red, increasing in size, or swollen and warm – schedule an appointment for evaluation.
  • This is not an emergency but should be evaluated in the office within several days.

The tube is loose but not out.

THIS APPLIES ONLY TO “BUTTONS” OR LOW PROFILE TUBES.
  • Tape the edges of the “button” down. This will keep the tube in place and the gastrostomy hole open.
  • You may continue to give feedings and medications through the tube.
  • Schedule an appointment to have the tube replaced. As long as the tube is in the track, you do not have to be seen immediately.

Problems that are emergencies or require immediate attention

The tube falls out or gets pulled out.
  • If the operation to place the tube was done longer than 4 months ago and you have been taught how to replace the tube, insert replacement tube.
  • you are unsuccessful, you must seek medical attention within 6 hours.

All of the formula or feeding is leaking at the site.
  • Small amounts of leakage or drainage around a GT is ALWAYS normal.
  • However, if all or most of the formula is leaking, the tube may no longer be all the way in the stomach and should be evaluated to prevent damage to the tract.

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