What Is Enteral Feeding?
Enteral feeding, enteral nutrition, or tube feeding is the provision of nutrients through a tube into the stomach or small intestine. The main criteria for using enteral feeding is a functional gut.
Indications for enteral feeding include the following:
Contraindications to enteral feeding include:
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The American College of Gastroenterology and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition recommends enteral feeding for those who may benefit from it within 24-48 hours of admission or resuscitation.
There are different ways of providing tube feeding, depending on the individual’s medical condition. For temporary access, tubes can be placed through the nose and mouth.
These tubes are named after their point of entry and destination:
If left for too long, the tubes can cause sinusitis, infections, and ulcerations to the throat, esophagus, and stomach. When long-term tube feeding is necessary, a tube may be placed endoscopically. Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy would be called a PEG and percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy a PEJ. A surgically placed gastrostomy tube is termed G-tube and jejunostomy tube J-tube.
Next: Benefits and Complications of Enteral Feeding