Clogged feeding tubes

  1. Does anyone have any tips on how to clear clogged feeding tubes? Almost everytime I come on the floor the feeding tubes are clogged!! Any easy to unclog them?
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   Forever Sunshine
    I use a irrigation syringe with plunger (Not bulb). and draw up 50ccs of warm water into the syringe..plug it in and push down. Hasn't failed yet.

    One of these- http://lslhealthcare.com/images/myimages/119-sml.JPG
  4. by   mamamerlee
    Very warm water is good, as noted. Try cola, or ginger ale. Remind everyone that plain water should be used as the last flush, every time.
  5. by   PetiteOpRN
    Warm diet coke, as a last resort. Diet is more acidic than regular coke.
  6. by   JulieCVICURN
    Coke works better than Pepsi. And I've never had Diet Coke actually work at all, so I'm surprised to see that it supposedly works better than Coke. I must be doing it wrong.
  7. by   lkwashington
    Do the patients have standing orders how often and how much they should be flushed with free water? Even when the water goes down slow, I usually use cola or ginger ale to help open the tube.
  8. by   lkwashington
    Quote from JulieCVICURN
    Coke works better than Pepsi. And I've never had Diet Coke actually work at all, so I'm surprised to see that it supposedly works better than Coke. I must be doing it wrong.
    Years ago, when my dad use to work on cars. He used Coke to clean off the battery. Now today, he dont drink Coke. He states Coke is not a strong as it use to be.
  9. by   kcochrane
    Quote from Phillygryl
    Does anyone have any tips on how to clear clogged feeding tubes? Almost everytime I come on the floor the feeding tubes are clogged!! Any easy to unclog them?
    Most likely due to people not flushing properly after meds or especially after feedings. Good tips here. You can also try only air 10ccs while pulling gently back and forth on the plunger. There is also something called clog zapper - has to be ordered by the MD - if you have one that is always plugged. We've also used cranberry juice as a flush for those stubborn g-tubes. I believe that is also a md order type thing.
  10. by   CNL2B
    I have had some really bad ones a few times where coke and/or warm water didn't work.

    Some of my coworkers will take the stylet to the tube. This is not recommended due to the risk of perforation but it does work. I won't do it, though.

    Some will use bicarb IV amps -- draw it up and try to flush it though. I haven't seen any better success with this than coke.

    The best thing I have found is pancrelipase capsules + bicarb tablet. Our pharmacist knows this works and will get an order for us to do it. We take two capsules, open them up, crush the bicarb, and mix with warm water. You need to wait 15-20 minutes to get the pancrelipase to dissolve. Then, flush it through. It works in about two seconds.
  11. by   OutlawNurse86
    I'm gonna say Coke since I don't already see it mentioned

    Seriously though, Diet Coke. Be careful... I have seen a nurse take a coke/feeding bath before...
  12. by   Forever Sunshine
    Quote from lkwashington
    Do the patients have standing orders how often and how much they should be flushed with free water? Even when the water goes down slow, I usually use cola or ginger ale to help open the tube.
    The feeding pumps we use automatically flush the tube with 100ml per hour for example. But its not getting that good forceful flush to get all the crud from the formula off like a manual flush does.
  13. by   CABGx4
    use a small syringe (10cc) filled with most any liquid. i will plunge the syringe until you break loose the clog. be careful though, if you do not have a good seal, you will spray yourself or your patient with liquid grossness.
  14. by   Forever Sunshine
    Quote from propofol_milkshake
    use a small syringe (10cc) filled with most any liquid. i will plunge the syringe until you break loose the clog. be careful though, if you do not have a good seal, you will spray yourself or your patient with liquid grossness.
    That happened to me once. I gave a patient meds.. after the water flush i took the syringe out of the tube and "liquid grossness" was everywhere. The patient doesn't speak words but after I got everything together she started giggling. lol It was just a gown change didn't get on her sheets or blankets.

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