6 Critical Pros and Cons of Feeding Tubes

6 Critical Pros and Cons of Feeding Tubes

by / Comments Off / 774 View / Feb 14, 2015

Medicine has progressed over time and there are new technologies and procedures that are designed to improve the quality of care provided and allow for sustained life. Feeding tubes are used in medical cases where typical ingestion of food becomes nearly impossible for a variety of reasons.

What Are the Pros of Feeding Tubes?

1. Providing Essential Nourishment
Feeding tubes ate the only way that some patients that do not have the ability to ingest food normally can get the nourishment that is required for survival. There are often times conditions that are fleeting, but can cause the body to not function properly and can interfere with ingestion. In these cases, feeding tubes help to keep patients alive and nourished until they return to good health and can ingest foods normally. This means that feeding tubes help keep some patients alive that might otherwise die.

2. Advancement in Medicine
Feeding tubes are an advancement in medicine that have a place in healthcare. Patients have the right to be able to receive nourishment from feeding tubes if they can’t ingest properly. Even though feeding tubes can lead to larger complications, the ability to have feeding tubes is one that all patients should have access to.

What Are the Cons of Feeding Tubes?

1. Discomfort
One of the biggest cons associated with the use of feeding tubes is the discomfort that patients are exposed to. Gas often enters through the site where the feeding tubes are inserted and this can lead to high amounts of discomfort for some patients. Since feeding tubes allow for only a liquid diet, it does take some patients time for their body to adjust to this change. There can also be complications and discomfort if the tubes are not inserted properly giving way to air.

2. Infection
Another downside to feeding tubes is the risk of infection. Having feeding tubes inserted allows for leakage that makes the probability of infection fairly high. Bacteria or pathogens can make their way into the body easily and this can worsen the already critical condition of the patient.

3. Clogging
One con that you should also know about involves the clogging of feeding tubes. Clogging is a very common problem and it can only be avoided through proper cleaning of the feeding tubes before and after all meals.

4. Survival Rate
Most people that are opposed to feeding tubes feel that patients do not live long after tubing and it only prolongs pain and suffering. Less than 35% of all patients that are fed through feeding tubes each year actually live longer than one year. This is a pretty low rate and shows that most patients who are tubed do often not survive. Some feel that feeding tubes only give families false hope and lead to disappointment when patients do not ever recover fully and gain the ability to ingest food properly.

Function of Feeding Tubes

Feeding tubes are designed to be the last resort of method for obtaining nutrition for patients that can’t eat normally. Nutrition is essential to survival and feeding tubes allow for patients to have a prolonged life when they might be impaired due to a serious medical condition. There is an ongoing debate surrounding feeding tubes and the benefits that they provide. There are those that are opposed to the use of feeding tubes in specific cases and those that feel feeding tubes can lead to other health problems.

Feeding Tubes in Specific Demographics

The main issues involving the use of feeding tubes revolve around infant and elderly patients. It is in these cases that feeding tubes can have an adverse effect and cause further damage. In babies, feeding tubes can lead to developmental problems, but they are also the only way that underdeveloped infants can obtain nourishment. In elderly patients, feeding tubes can prolong life for those that are suffering, but they can also help keep alive those elderly patients dealing with poor digestive abilities.

Complex Issue

As you can see, the issue of feeding tubes is not quite as straightforward as you might have originally assumed. Feeding tubes are essential to providing nourishment to those that need it, but it is not always ideal in some cases. Determining if feeding tubes are the best option is often decided on a case by case basis, but it still leaves open the question if feeding tubes are always needed. Weighing the pros and cons of feeding tubes against one another allows you to get a unique perspective on the topic.