Management of Enteral Complications


Complications associated with enteral feedings fall into three major categories:

  • Mechanical
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Infectious

Management of Complications Encountered During Tube Feedings

Problem Prevention/Intervention
Nausea & Vomiting · Maintain head of bed elevated
· Consider prokinetic medications
· Initiate tube feeding at low rates, advance slowly,
· Consider alternate feeding routes i.e., duodenal/jejunal
Constipation · Increase free water intake
· Digital disimpaction
· Choose fiber containing formula or add fiber or prune juice
Diarrhea · Consult pharmacist for review of medications causing diarrhea and possible discontinuation
· Look for Sorbitol on label of oral prescription medications
· Consider switch to continuous feedings. Begin at slow infusion rate, advance slowly, as tolerated.
· Reduce tube feeding rate to previously tolerated rate. Then advance more slowly, as tolerated.
· Use fiber containing formula or add fiber to the tube feeding.