Tube Feeding

Which of the following statements about feeding tubes is true?

A. Tube feeding can help reduce incidence of aspiration pneumonia events in
patients who are bedridden after a stroke.
B. Feeding tubes may enhance the quality of life in patients with proximal small
bowel obstruction.
C. Increasing caloric intake via feeding tube prolong life in cancer patients with
D. Having ALS is a relative contraindication for placement of a feeding tube.

The correct answer is B:

If the patient experiences hunger and thirst, feeding-tube placement may improve the
quality of life. Examples include during active cancer treatments for esophageal and
oropharyngeal cancers, or a proximal GI obstruction. Placement of feeding tubes do not
appear to prevent aspiration pneumonia (answer A). In patients with late-stage cancer
symptoms such as catabolic cachexia, increased nutritional support has not been shown to
prolong life (answer C). The same is true when patients are dying of other disease causes
as well. In the case of ALS, the decision to undergo enteral feeding can be beneficial
(answer D). The America Academy of Neurology 2009 Practice Parameter and the
European Federation of Neurological Societies recommend early insertion of feeding
tubes before respiratory status has declined to 50% of the predicted forced vital capacity.

Fast Fact and Concepts #10: Tube Feed or Not Tube Feed?