Frequently Asked Questions on Enteral Feeding


Why is tube feeding suggested?

People are tube-fed because they cannot eat enough ordinary food to get the nutrition and fluids they need.

Can we use pureed food in enteral feeding?

It is not advisable to syringe pureed food through enteral feeding tube. The feeding tubes are not designed to accommodate this and become blocked more frequently, even if you ensure that all lumps are removed before you syringe the pureed foods through, the texture of pureed food is also different to that of the feed and will form a layer on the inside of the tube, which overtime will result in blockages. You must remember that whilst the feed is essentially liquid food, it is far more specific than that. A great deal of time and expense has gone in to the manufacture of these feeds to facilitate that the nutrients are delivered in a form that is easy and effectively digested. A lot of evidence show that the processing of pureeing foods, can reduce the number of vitamins and minerals available for absorption, meaning he/she does not get everything that you think you are giving them and that they need.

Do people on enteral feeding feel hungry or full?

Enteral feeds are supplied into the digestive tract (stomach or small intestine) and therefore the normal mechanisms that are triggered within the tract when eating will also take place during enteral feeding. The feeling of satiety "feeling full" is the result of distension in the stomach and intestine, as a result of the introduction of solids (food). However, this distention is also shown to occur when enteral feeds are administered, thus producing a feeling of satiety.

How is an enteral tube placed and where does the feed go?

The placement depends upon your condition and the expected duration of your needs for enteral feeding. For individuals with a fully functioning stomach, it may be possible to administer the feed directly into the stomach, otherwise the stomach can be bypassed completely and the feed delivered directly into a part of the small intestine. For short term use a tube is passed up the nose and fed down into the stomach, duodenum or jejunum, these are known as naso-gastric (NG), naso-duodenal (ND) or naso jejunal (NJ). For longer term treatment a surgically implanted tube is placed through the abdominal wall, known as a gastrostomy (into the stomach) or jejunostomy (into the jejunum).

Can the rate of the pump increased or decreased?

The rate of administering the feed is changeable, but it is not advisable to change this rate without consulting your nutrition expert or doctor.