HealthSheets™


Gastrostomy or Gastro-jejunum Tube: Flushing the Tube

Your child is going home with a gastrostomy tube (G tube) or gastro-jejunum tube (G-J tube) in place. These tubes are used to send liquid food directly to your child’s stomach or small intestine. You will need to flush your child’s tube to keep it from getting clogged. You were shown how to do this before your child was discharged from the hospital. This sheet will help you remember those steps at home. If you need more help, talk with the hospital about how to arrange a home health nurse to help you.

Keep in mind that there are many types of G and G-J tubes, syringes, and feeding pumps. Your child’s tube and supplies may look or work differently from what are described and shown here. Make sure to follow the instructions given by your child’s healthcare provider or home health nurse.

Contact information to keep handy

Ask for phone numbers to call if you need help. Also, make sure you have the phone number for your child’s medical supply company. You’ll need to order more supplies for your child in the future. Write all of these phone numbers below.

Healthcare provider phone number: _____________________________________

Home health nurse phone number: ______________________________________

Medical supply company phone number: _________________________________

Outline of baby with tube inserted in stomach. Feeding port is near skin, and clamp is open on extension tubing. Feeding syringe is inserted into extension tubing. Water flows into baby's stomach.
Fill the feeding syringe with water and let the water run through the extension tubing by gravity.

Flushing the tube using a syringe

Flush your child’s G or G-J tube after each feeding, or as often instructed by your child’s healthcare provider.

The supplies you’ll need are:

  • Feeding syringe

  • Water

Follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Make sure the feeding syringe is connected to the extension tubing.

  • Pour water into the syringe. Let it run through the extension tubing by gravity.

  • If the water flows too slowly or doesn’t flow at all, place the plunger in the syringe. Gently push the plunger a bit. This can help remove anything that is blocking or clogging the G or G-J tube. Do not push the plunger all the way into the syringe or with force. Changing your child’s position so that he or she is lying down or sitting upright may also improve the flow.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the extension tubing.

  • Disconnect the extension tubing from the G or G-J tube.

  • Close the feeding port on the G or G-J tube.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water when done.

Additional instructions: _____________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

Flushing the tube using a pump

Flush your child’s G or G-J tube after each feeding, or as often instructed by your child’s healthcare provider.

The supplies you’ll need are:

  • 5 to 10 ml syringe

  • Water

Closeup of hands disconnecting feeding bag tubing from port on extension tubing. Feeding bag tubing is connected to pump.
Disconnect the feeding bag from the extension tubing, if needed.
Closeup of hand holding extension tubing with syringe inserted in port. Other hand is pressing down plunger on syringe.
Connect the syringe to the extension tubing and gently push the plunger.

Follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

  • Make sure the pump is in the STOP/OFF mode.

  • Close the clamp on the feeding bag tubing.

  • Disconnect the feeding bag tubing from the extension tubing.

  • Put the tip of the empty syringe in water.

  • Draw up 5 to 10 ml of water.

  • Connect the syringe to the extension tubing. 

  • Gently push the plunger all the way into the syringe.

  • Disconnect the syringe from the extension tubing.

  • Disconnect the extension tubing from the G or G-J tube.

  • Close the feeding port cap of the G or G-J tube.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water when done.

Additional instructions: __________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

When to call the healthcare provider

Contact the healthcare provider right away if any of the following occurs:

  • Your child has trouble breathing.

  • The tube feels loose or comes out.

  • The opening where the tube enters the skin becomes larger.

  • Red, rough tissue forms around the tube site.

  • The tube becomes clogged or blocked and you can’t clear it.

  • The skin around the tube site has redness, swelling, leaking fluid, or sores.

  • You see blood around the tube, in your child’s stool, or in the contents of the stomach.

  • Your child coughs, chokes, or vomits while feeding.

  • Your child’s belly looks bloated or feels hard when gently pressed.

  • Your child has diarrhea or constipation.

  • Your child has a fever 100.4°F (38°C) or higher.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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