Gastrostomy or Gastro-jejunum Tube: Flushing the Tube - Fairview Health Services
 
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Gastrostomy or Gastro-jejunum Tube: Flushing the Tube

Your child is going home with a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) or gastro-jejunum tube (G-J tube) in place. These tubes are used to deliver liquid food directly to your child’s stomach or small intestine. One of the things you must do is flush your child’s tube to keep it from getting clogged. You were shown how to do this before your child was discharged from the hospital. This sheet can help you remember those steps when you and your child are at home. Arrangements may also be made for a home health nurse to help you.

 

NOTE: There are many types of G- and G-J tubes, extension tubing, and syringes. Your child’s tube and supplies may look or work differently from what are described and pictured here.

  • Always follow the instructions given by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse.

  • Ask them for phone numbers to call if you need help. 

  • Make sure you have the phone number for your child’s medical supply company. You may need to order more supplies for your child in the future. Write all of these phone numbers below.

Health care provider phone number: ____________________________________

Home health nurse phone number: ____________________________________

Medical supply company phone number: _________________________________

Flushing the Tube for Bolus Feeding Using a SyringeOutline of baby with tube inserted in stomach. Feeding port is near skin, and clamp is open on extension tubing. Feeding syringe is inserted into extension tubing. Water flows into baby's stomach.

Flush your child’s G- or G-J tube after each feeding or as instructed by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse.

Supplies

  • Feeding syringe

  • Water

Steps

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • The feeding syringe should already be connected to the extension tubing.

  • Pour water into the syringe. Let it run through the extension tubing by gravity.

  • If the water flows too slowly or doesn’t flow at all, place the plunger in the syringe. Gently, push the plunger a bit. This can help remove anything that is blocking or clogging the G- or G-J tube. Do not push the plunger all the way into the syringe or with force. Changing the child’s position so that he or she is lying down or sitting upright may also improve the flow.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the extension tubing.

  • Disconnect the extension tubing from the G- or G-J tube.

  • Close the feeding port on the G- or G-J tube.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water when done.

Additional instructions: _________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Flushing the Tube for Bolus Feeding or Continuous Feeding Using a Pump

Flush your child’s G- or G-J tube after each feeding or as instructed by your child’s health care provider or home health nurse.

Supplies

  • 5–10 cc/ml syringe

  • Water

 Closeup of hands disconnecting feeding bag tubing from port on extension tubing. Feeding bag tubing is connected to pump.

 

 Closeup of hand holding extension tubing with syringe inserted in port. Other hand is pressing down plunger on syringe.

Steps

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Make sure the pump is in the STOP/OFF mode.

  • Close the clamp on the feeding bag tubing.

  • Disconnect the feeding bag tubing from the extension tubing.

  • Put the tip of the empty syringe in water.

  • Draw up 5–10 cc/ml of water.

  • Connect the syringe to the extension tubing. 

  • Gently push the plunger all the way into the syringe.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the extension tubing.

  • Disconnect the extension tubing from the G- or G-J tube.

  • Close the feeding port cap of the G- or G-J tube.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water when done.

Additional instructions: _____________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Call the doctor right away if any of the following occurs:

  • The tube feels loose, comes out, or the size of the opening where the tube enters the skin increases.

  • Redness, swelling, leakage, sores, or pus develops around the tube.

  • Red, rough tissue develops around the tube site.

  • You see blood around the tube, in child’s stool, or in contents of the stomach.

  • The tube becomes clogged or blocked and you can’t clear it.

  • Your child coughs, chokes, or vomits while feeding.

  • Your child has a bloated or rigid abdomen (belly feels hard when gently pressed).

  • Your child has diarrhea.

  • Your child has a fever:

    • In an infant under 3 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

    • In a child of any age who repeatedly has a temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

    • A fever that lasts more than 24-hours in a child under 2 years old, or for 3 days in a child 2 years or older

    • Your child has had a seizure caused by the fever

 

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