Transitioning From Nasogastric Feeding Tube to Gastrostomy Tube in Pediatric Patients: A Survey on Decision-Making and Practice.

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DOI: 10.1002/ncp.10603


BACKGROUND: Tube feeding via nasogastric tubes (NGTs) and gastrostomy tubes (GTs) is a common practice for children unable to meet their nutrition needs by oral feeding alone. There is currently a lack of evidence-based guidance specific for the process of transitioning from an NGT to GT as a longer-term enteral access device. Uncertainty in the literature about feeding tube choices, practices, and transitions requires clinicians to draw on incomplete and sometimes conflicting evidence, personal experience, economic realities, and compassion to deliver supportive child-centered care.

METHODS: The ASPEN Enteral Nutrition Task Force Pediatric Work Group designed a survey to explore current practice of enteral access device safety and use among pediatric clinicians practicing in the US and Canada. The survey aimed to define time frames, parameters, and decision points to guide clinicians and families in the transition from NG to GT feeding.

RESULTS: 258 clinicians, 55% practicing in an inpatient setting, 17% in-home patient setting, and 28% practicing in both inpatient and outpatient setting. 22% were physicians, 42% were dietitians, 32% were nurses or advanced practice nurses, 2% were pharmacists. The most common feeding tubes used were NGTs followed by GTs. Majority of respondents indicated that they did not have a specific timeline for when an NGT should be changed to a GT. Highest ranked patient factors or clinical considerations prior to recommending changing from an NGT to a GT were exceeding the duration for temporary feeding or the need for an extended duration of tube feeding. Highest physician barriers to GT placement were the reluctance for referral from primary care doctors for GT placement. Majority of respondents reported the use of NGTs for enteral access at home and that parents were taught how to place the NGTs for home use but without consistently being taught the use of pH paper to verify NGT tip location or being provided with the pH paper to perform this task at home.

CONCLUSIONS: This survey is the first step to address the knowledge gap surrounding feeding tube choices by ascertaining the current standard of practice regarding enteral access devices and appropriate timing of transitioning from NGT to GT feeding. The results highlight current practice variability and concerns. Information from the survey was used to formulate a decision tree to guide the transition of NGT to GT feeding that nutrition support professionals can use to advocate for best practices in their hospital and community settings.

Journal Title

Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition





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enteral nutrition; gastrostomy tube; nasogastric tube; nutrition support; pediatrics; survey

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