Feeding tube removal? How long? Benefits?

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Feeding tube removal? How long? Benefits?

by BeckyandKent on Sat Jul 28, 2012 06:49 PM

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Hi Everyone, Today we have a question regarding removal of the feeding tube. I know every case is different but I am looking for feedback regarding when others had their feeding tube removed. My husband is 4 weeks post surgery, complete esophagectomy with gastric pullup. He is eating pretty well, and is supplemented with 70 ml of Jevity( first name Long, ha) and is maintaining his weight and strength. Two weeks ago the surgeon asked us to decrease the feed at night to half and Kent lost 6 pounds in 5 days, was week, and felt foggy. So the doc increased it and we have been focusing on increasing his calories during the day and experimenting with different foods. Some foods bring on nausea, all foods and drink bring on coughing. The doctor has said this is normal aspiration. We have seen a swallow specialist and standing up, not talking while eating and positioning his chin forward helps somewhat. This week the doctor wants us now to discontinue, altogether, feeds. I am leery of this suggestion based on our experience two weeks ago. It has always been my style to be more cautious and I like having the security of a back up as Kent's coughing takes so much energy after he has eaten. The doctors plan is to take out the feed tube ten days from now. Are there negatives to having the feed tube in for over 6 weeks? Has anyone had problems with keeping a feed tube in? When did others have their feed tube removed? Has anyone experienced problems in having the feed tube removed too quickly? Has anyone had to have a feed tube put in again after it has been removed? Thank you in advance for your responses and experience. We are so grateful for his site and all the sharing of experience, strength and hope. Becky

RE: Feeding tube removal? How long? Benefits?

by Joanne54 on Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:14 PM

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You are right -everyone seems to be different on how long the feeding tube stayed in. In my husbands case it was about 14 weeks, he was not allowed to eat for about 3 weeks after surgery and then about 2 weeks of a very detailed schedule of eating and drinking per his surgeon. As his eating increased we slowly decreased his feed with instructions if he lost weight we had to increase his feed. There were times I didn't think he would ever be off it - but I don't know what we would have done without it, it was his safety net. Once we stopped the feeds his surgeon would not remove the tube for additional 3 weeks "just in case" I am extremely glad his doctors were as cautious as they were, it allowed him to feel comfortable trying different foods to see what he could eat and still keep his strength up to heal.

RE: Feeding tube removal? How long? Benefits?

by Carolj03 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 06:35 PM

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Hi Becky,  I also had a esophagectomy with gastric pullup. I was stage 1 and I had the feeding tube put in during the surgery 9/11/09 and came home from the hospital 9/18 and when I went back to see the surgeon on 9/30 he removed the feeding tube.  I did not have any problems with weight loss..I did throw up once in a while but that was due to me eating too much at one sitting...I found it very hard to change my eating habits.  I also having a cough when eating and it has been 3 years now.  My weight has been steady. It does get better over time.

Carol

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