Blue food coloring in tubefeeding

  1. For many years blue food coloring has been used around KC, and I'm sure many other places as well. Personally, I have never thought it was very realiable.

    What are you doing in your facility? What ways are you checking to make sure the tube is in the stomach and remains there while you are giving feedings and/or meds?

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    About gypsyrose

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 4
    RN - Clinical Educator


  3. by   Janet Barclay
    Hi, we also use blue food dye to check for aspiration. we check placement by auscultation with head to toe assessment and the position is also verified on am CXR (this is in ICU)We also check aspirates q4h to ensure that the patient is tolerating feeds (if>150ml we stop feeds times 4h then recheck etc). Just yesterday we suctioned someone for aqua secretions which gave us an eraly warning that he was aspirating his feeds.
  4. by   gpip
    We check placement every time we give meds down the tube and every four hours. We however do not use the blue dye anymore due to some cases here in the US in which the dye was suspect in some deaths and has been shown to increase the risk of infection. I cannot remember the research off hand but I know nursing and the docs agree with the new policy
  5. by   imaRN
    GPIP from Detroit, I am VERY interested about the data on pt's with problems with the blue tubefeeds and increased infections. Please try to locate "Where the study was from" and post a reply, We use it all the time!.........Thanks, imaRN
  6. by   night owl
    I've never heard of this blue dye used in feeding tubes. Maybe it's a good thing that I didn't? How was it used? Just curious...
  7. by   imaRN
    Blue Food Coloring is used to tint the tubefeeds, so if you suction blue out of a patient, say from :ET tube, Trach, nares, see it leaking out of surgical incisions (you might be suprised)then you know exactly "where" it is coming from and "what" it is. Ps.. it does turn stool Green!! imaRN
  8. by   gypsyrose
    Just to let each of you know how much I apprecate your comments. Hope they keep coming.

    FLO(from the land of OZ)...judy
  9. by   moonshadeau
    our facility uses blue food coloring. All I can say is that I LOVE it when it gets on your hands and clothes.
  10. by   RNed
    Originally posted by moonshadeau:
    <STRONG>our facility uses blue food coloring. All I can say is that I LOVE it when it gets on your hands and clothes. </STRONG>
    That is the other reason to not use the dye. It gets all over the place and you end up chasing something that is not true. Alittle blue here and alittle blue there. You end up not feeding the patient, calling the doctor, getting a chest x-ray, assuming aspiration, bowel leakage, etc. One spill and everything gets messy. The more you clean it up the more it seems to spread.

    We don't use it. We check for position and residual q 4 hours and prior to medication introduction. In addition, if there is suspect of leakage, one can introduce a dye to confirm or assess, however, this is only available if it is not routinely used.
  11. by   gypsyrose
    Yes, I forgot it is one of the messest things to use. It is almost permanent on your hands. It is on clothes and any other cloth items; not to mention the floor.

  12. by   gpip
    I finally got a chance to talk to the np who get the hospital policy on dye changed. She said the change was not based on research at all but that for years they had questioned the use of the dye because its purpose was to tell if the patient had aspirated and it had no theraputic use and they could tell by x ray if they had aspirated the article about the deaths she said was in Krane's weekly business report but i could not find it the other impliucation was that it was a good median for bacterial growth.
  13. by   moonshadeau
    Once I had a patient with the blue food coloring feeding hanging and the pump fell off the IV pole along with the feeding. THe lucky part was that it was not hooked up to the patient at the time. I just helped take care of a patient that had blue coloring drainage around his PEG tube site and they d/c'd it right away because the tube wasn't in the right spot. I believe that if the feeding wasn't colored, it wouldn't have been caught right away.