Peg feeding tubes – synapse – reconnecting lives anoxic brain injury stories

Medical PEG feeding tubes

A brain injury can result in the

Muscles for chewing and swallowing becoming weak, slow and or


A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) feeding tube

Can improve a person’s nutritional intake and contribute to a

Greater quality of life where there are severe swallowing

Difficulties, which can lead to:

• food and water entering the lungs and causing chest


• eating less and inadequate nutrition.

A PEG tube passes directly into the abdominal wall so nutrition

Can be provided without chewing or swallowing. A dietitian will

Prescribe a suitable liquid formula containing protein, fat,

Carbohydrate, fluid, vitamins and minerals. There are three main

Ways that the liquid feed can be administered:

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• bolus method where liquid is poured down a syringe into the


• a bag of liquid food is hung from a stand and drips through the


• an electric pump.

How PEG tubes are inserted

Insertion of the tube involves a minor surgical procedure which

Takes about 30 minutes under a mild sedative or general


An endoscope is used to examine the inside of the stomach. After

The area has been anesthetized, a small incision is made through

The abdominal wall. A guide wire is inserted into the incision and

Brought up through the endoscope into the stomach with the feeding

Tube attached. The tube is prevented from moving by a small plastic

Disc internally and a flange externally. A cap is placed over the

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End of the tube when feeding is not taking place.

Is accidental removal of the tube


A common misconception when first learning about PEG

Feeding is that if a person accidentally or deliberately pulls a

Feeding tube out this can be life threatening for a person. This is

Not life-threatening, but the tube does need to be correctly

Reinserted by a trained person.

Common problems solutions

The most common problems are blocked feeding tubes, exit site

Infection, deteriorated tubes, incorrect feeding formula or

Gastrostomy tubes that have been inadvertently removed.

Infection of the tube exit site can be avoided by washing the

Site with warm water and soap and cleaning around the external

Bumper with a cotton bud, ensuring that the area is also dried

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Thoroughly. After each feed, the tube should be flushed with

Cooled, boiled water to avoid tube blockages.

The tube should be checked each day and any changes in the

Appearance of the exit site e.G. Redness, itchiness or presence of

Discharge or the tube itself. Cracking or leakages should be

Reported to the referring doctor immediately. A feeding tube will

Generally last between one to two years and can be easily replaced

Without hospital admission.

Best feeding position


A person should never be positioned laying down flat. They

Should lie with their head at a 30° angle or sitting upright in a

Chair, remaining in this position for approximately 30 to 60

Minutes afterwards.

Some people may not tolerate a certain feeding formula.Anoxic brain injury stories adverse

Reactions to the type of feeding formula can include nausea and

Diarrhea. If you begin to experience these symptoms contact your

Prescribing specialist as some experimentation may be required

Before finding the type of formula and quantity that best meets the

Individual’s needs.