Tube feeding has been practiced for more than 400 years. In addition to feeding, gastrointestinal (GI) access can be used for decompression in cases of enteral obstruction.
Temporary access can be achieved with a nasogastric (NG), oral gastric (OG), nasojejunal (NJ), or oral jejunal (OJ) feeding tube. These tubes can be placed "blindly" at the bedside, with the use of image guidance (e.g., fluoroscopy, ultrasound) or endoscopic guidance. Unfortunately, natural orifice tubes often fail because of clogging due to their relatively small diameter or inadvertent dislodgement.
Although these enteral access devices' indications are often similar, there are specific situations in which a particular enteral access tube may be more appropriate.
More permanent enteral access can be obtained by percutaneously endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG).
Old feeding tube sites can become chronic non-healing wound sites, or an existing feeding tube site can get infected for various reasons. Proper routine evaluation and feeding tube replacements are much needed in preventive care.