Published: May 16, 2007
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
What is a feeding jejunostomy tube?
A feeding jejunostomy tube, also called a J-tube, is a tube inserted through the abdomen and into the jejunum (the second part of the small bowel) to assist with feeding and to provide nutrition.
Why is it done?
A feeding tube is placed for the patient who is unable to take in enough food or drink through the mouth to maintain body weight. Most people who receive a J-tube are those who have trouble digesting food or emptying their stomach, aspirate food into their lungs, or have pancreatic disease.
What happens after the procedure?
After the procedure, an antibiotic ointment is applied to the tube site, and a dressing is placed over the tube. An abdominal binder is applied to protect the tube. Then you will be taken to your hospital room.
Checking, cleaning, dressing and securing the jejunostomy tube
Using the J-tube for feeding
Feedings through a J-tube are always done using a feeding pump. A visiting nurse or home care company will help arrange for your feeding pump and instructions on how to use the pump at home. They will also be available to assist you in caring for your tube at home.
Flushing the J-tube
To reduce the risk of tube clogs, always flush with lukewarm water:
Your nurse will tell you how much water to use.
Medicines through the J-tube
If you are giving medications through the J-tube, it is very important to flush the tube with 30 cc water between each medicine and after the last medicine. You do not want the medications to mix with each other or mix with the feeding in the tube. This may cause your tube to become clogged.
Dealing with problems
When do I need to call the doctor?
If you have a problem with your tube, refer to the chart below.
|Fever or chills
Redness or swelling around the tube site
Bleeding through or around the tube.
|Call your doctor immediately for advice.
Go to the Emergency Department or Urgent Care if you cannot reach your doctor.
|Hard abdomen or abdominal pain||Call your doctor for advice.|
|The tube becomes dislodged or clogged (tube will be hard to flush)
Leaking around the tube site
|Call your doctor immediately. Dislodged tubes must be replaced quickly (within 1-2 hours) or the hole will close up.
Clogged tubes are not usually an emergency but will be replaced as quickly as possible on the next working day.
This article is intended as a resource for patients receiving their cancer care at Duke University Hospital or Duke Clinic. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your doctor’s instructions differ from the information in this article, please talk with your doctor before making any changes.