A jejunostomy tube (J-tube) is a soft, flexible tube placed in the jejunum (part of the small bowel) for feeding your child. The tube may be placed directly into the small bowel surgically or threaded into the small bowel through a gastrostomy as part of an X-ray procedure. Jejunostomy tubes are used for feedings when both the mouth and stomach must be bypassed because of recurrent vomiting or other causes.
Because placement of a jejunal feeding tube is difficult, you should not try to replace it at home if it falls out. Your child will need to see a doctor as soon as possible for replacement. If your child has a gastrostomy, you may give feedings temporarily through the gastrostomy to keep your child hydrated. Keeping the tube well stabilized will help to prevent dislodgment or accidental removal.
Even though your child is not eating by mouth, remember to clean teeth and mouth regularly.
Feeding through a J-tube:
Feedings are always continuous drip feedings using a prepared commercial formula. You will have to add formula to the feeding bag periodically during the day. A feeding pump is used. Keep opened cans of formula in the refrigerator, and throw them away after 48 hours. Formula should not hang for more than 24 hours. Flush the tube after giving medicines. Medicines should be in liquid form since the tube is smaller than a gastrostomy and clogs more easily. If your child can take some solids safely by mouth this can be a safe alternate route for solid medicines that can’t be crushed and dissolved. Discuss your child’s medicines with your doctor. If your child has both a G-tube and a J-tube, some medicines may also be given through the G-tube.
J-tube site care:
Keep the site clean and dry. Special ointments are usually not needed. Keep the tube properly stabilized to prevent leaking or displacement. If your J-tube does not have internal and external attachments to keep it in place, you will be shown how to tape it in place. Avoid pinching the tube shut if it is a double lumen tube.
When to call the doctor:
If your child shows signs of abdominal pain, abdominal distention, fever, vomiting or diarrhea, contact Telehealth Nursing (651-229-3890) for further instructions. If the J-tube becomes clogged or falls out, you will need to come in for replacement.
Do not try to replace the J-Tube yourself.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.