Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Skinny on the GJ Tube

So what is a GJ tube?

GJ-tubes (Transgastric feeding tubes) are similar to G-tubes in that they provide a way to deliver nutrition to a person who is unable to ingest their daily nutritional requirements orally. This type of feeding tube uses the same stoma created by the G-tube if the patient has already been using a feeding tube. No further surgical procedures are needed to switch to this type of tube. (That's the good news!) They are called GJ-tubes because there are two separate routes included inside the feeding tube. One route is delivered into the stomach. The other route is delivered into the small intestines (also known as the jejunum, hence the "J").

Matthew required a GJ tube for many reasons.  The two main reasons are: Severe Reflux and Delayed Gastric Emptying.  

Delayed Gastric Emptying, also known as Gastroparesis, means that food remains in the stomach for longer than it needs too. 

The J part of the GJ tube goes into the jejunum, which is located in the small intestines.  Because the feeding tube of the J is much longer than the G, it has to be threaded into the intestines in the x ray department. 

Here is a picture of Matthew's G Tube.

The port that you see goes directly into his stomach.

This is a side view of the GJ tube.  What you are seeing here is the G port.  This port still feeds directly into the stomach.  At this point, we use this port for Matthew's tummy medications as well as any medications that start in pill form and need to be crushed.

This is the front view of the GJ tube.  This view is of the actual J part of the tube.  The extension you see is actually feeding him in the picture.  The formula is going directly into his intestines.  We use this port for all nutrients as well as all other medications.

When Matthew was switched to a GJ tube, he was also switched to a new formula.  We are now using Peptamen Junior.  Essentially, the formula is more broken down.  Also, when using a GJ tube, bolus feeds are out of the question.  The feedings need to be over an extended period of time. 

We are already seeing the benefits of the GJ tube.  Matthew is able to tolerate his 22 hour feedings.  He is smiling, laughing, cooing, and even holding his head up better.

It is truly amazing what can happen to you when your tummy doesn't hurt all the time. 

And this final pictures truly speaks for itself!!  A much happier Matthew!!!

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