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What is Enteral Nutrition?

What is Enteral Nutrition?
Guest Post

Enteral nutrition, also known as tube nutrition, is a nutrition method applied to people who cannot function their digestive system or cannot take in sufficient amounts of nutrients. This method can be used effectively for many different diseases and health conditions. Here are the different application areas of enteral nutrition:

1. Difficulty in Swallowing: Some neurological diseases or conditions such as stroke can affect swallowing function. In this case, it becomes difficult to take in nutrients normally and enteral nutrition may be required. Foods are delivered directly to the stomach or small intestine with the help of a tube, thus eliminating the need to swallow.

2. Digestive System Diseases: Digestive system diseases such as chronic kidney failure, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis can prevent a person from getting enough nutrients. Enteral nutrition provides direct nutritional intake without affecting the digestive system function and offers an effective solution to meet the nutritional needs of individuals with these diseases.

3. Surgical Interventions: Stomach or intestinal functions may be temporarily affected after some surgeries or surgical interventions. In this case, enteral nutrition can be used to meet the patient's nutritional needs. During the recovery period of the surgical procedure, enteral nutrition may be preferred to supplement the patient with the necessary nutrients and support a healthy recovery process.

Enteral nutrition is an effective and reliable method to directly meet the nutritional needs of patients. Enteral nutrition, administered under the supervision of a medical specialist, is tailored to the patient's needs and monitored regularly.

Tube feeding is an important form of nutrition to improve a person's quality of life and ensure that they receive adequate nutrition. However, before enteral nutrition, a detailed evaluation of the patient's condition and needs should be made. During the enteral nutrition process, regular monitoring and control should be provided by the professional healthcare team.

Remember, each individual's nutritional needs are different and enteral nutrition should be administered under the supervision of a specialist. Tube feeding improves patients' quality of life, enables them to eat healthily, and offers an effective solution to meet the basic nutrients their bodies need.

Who can be fed enterally?

Nutrition is very important for a healthy life. However, in some cases, it may not be possible for a person to get enough energy orally. In such cases, enteral feeding method may be used.

Enteral nutrition is a feeding method that is performed by inserting a tube into a person's stomach or small intestine. In cases where it is not possible to eat by mouth, this method ensures that the person is given adequate nutrition and fluid.

Enteral feeding is an ideal solution for people who have lost the ability to feed orally. For example, people who are on mechanical ventilation cannot eat normally due to respiratory distress. In this case, nutritional needs are met using the enteral feeding method.

In addition, enteral feeding is a frequently preferred method for people in coma. Since it is not possible for people in a coma to be fed orally, the most appropriate solution is to give them nutrients directly through a tube.

Diseases in which the swallowing reflex is affected are also among the conditions that require enteral nutrition. For example, difficulties in swallowing may occur in diseases such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. In these cases, the nutrients the patient needs are provided through a tube.

Also, some diseases or treatments can cause weight loss. In conditions such as chemotherapy or sepsis, a person may experience significant weight loss. In this case, with the enteral feeding method, a balanced nutrition is provided by giving the person's lost energy and nutrients directly through the tube.

Enteral feeding is a frequently preferred method for people with esophageal tumor or stenosis. People who have difficulty swallowing due to narrowing of the esophagus or tumor are given nutrients through a tube and thus their nutritional needs are met.

Dementia patients are also among those fed enterally. It can lead to problems such as dementia, memory loss, cognitive disorders and difficulty swallowing. For this reason, a healthy diet is provided to dementia patients by giving nutrients via the enteral feeding method.

Enteral nutrition is a nutrition method applied to people who cannot be fed orally due to various conditions. Those who are connected to mechanical ventilation, those who are in coma, patients whose swallowing reflex is affected, those who have lost weight, those with esophageal tumor or stenosis, and patients with dementia can benefit from this type of nutrition method. Enteral feeding should be administered by a professional healthcare team to provide these people with adequate nutrients and fluids.

Who Cannot Do Enteral Nutrition?

Enteral nutrition is often used as a treatment option for patients who need nutrition using the digestive system. However, in some cases enteral nutrition cannot be performed. We can list these situations as follows:

  1. Insufficient blood flow to the organs: If the patient's body cannot provide sufficient blood flow to the organs, enteral nutrition cannot be performed. Because it provides sufficient nutrients to the organs for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. oxygen and food must be provided.
  2. Stomach or intestinal bleeding: Enteral nutrition may be harmful in patients with active gastrointestinal bleeding. In this case, the digestive system may not work properly due to bleeding and the passage of nutrients may become difficult.
  3. Small or large intestine obstruction: Patients with an obstruction in their small or large intestines are not suitable candidates for enteral nutrition. Due to the blockage, the normal passage of nutrients is prevented and digestive system problems may occur.
  4. Moderate or severe malabsorption: If the patient's digestive system cannot absorb or digest nutrients properly, enteral nutrition cannot be administered. It is important that nutrients are adequately absorbed by the body and may not be beneficial in patients with malabsorption.
  5. Diverticulitis on the inner surface of the intestine: In case of inflammation of the bubbles formed on the inner surface of the intestine, enteral feeding cannot be performed. In this case, the passage of nutrients may become difficult and problems may arise.
  6. Leakage of fluid from the small intestine due to fistulas: If there are fistulas in the small intestine and therefore fluid leakage occurs, enteral nutrition may be harmful. Due to the presence of fistulas, normal absorption and digestion of nutrients may not be possible.
  7. Early stage short bowel disease: Enteral nutrition may also not be suitable for patients with short bowel disease in the early stages. In this case, normal digestion and absorption of nutrients may not be possible because intestinal functions are not sufficient.

In addition to these special situations, enteral nutrition may not be preferred for some patients. For example, in patients with acute kidney injury sodium and there is a possibility that potassium may not be tolerated. In this situation, potassium and enteral feeding options with low sodium content may be preferred.

Patients with acute liver failure may also encounter situations where enteral nutrition cannot be provided. Due to liver failure, deterioration in blood clotting factors occurs and as a result, blood products that enable blood clotting may be missing. In this case, enteral nutrition may not be possible.

The use of enteral nutrition by patients who have undergone abdominal surgery in the postoperative period may also carry some risks. Side effects may occur when enteral nutrition is used, especially in cases where postoperative wound healing is delayed.

Enteral nutrition may also differ for patients with acute lung injury. In this case, enteral nutrition content omega-3 ve antioxidants can be enriched.

At this point, it is important to consider your doctor's recommendations and evaluate the nutritional options best suited to your situation.

Enteral Feeding Tube Types: Which Tube is Used for What?

Enteral feeding tubes are tubes made of various materials and used for different purposes. They are usually produced using silicone or polyurethane materials and each tube has different diameters. Which of these diameters to use is determined according to the person's needs and health condition. Here are the types of enteral feeding tubes:

  1. Nasogastric Tube: Nasogastric tube can be used in patients who do not have vomiting or reflux problems. It is passed through the nose with a thin tube and placed into the stomach. This tube is used in situations that require temporary nutrition.
  2. Nasoduodenal Tube: The nasoduodenal tube is designed to be placed in the middle of the small intestine. This type of tube is often used in patients who have difficulty swallowing. Its tip is located closer to the intestines and allows nutrients to pass directly into the intestines.
  3. Nasojejunal Tube: The nasojejunal tube is used in a similar way to the nasoduodenal tube. It is located further into the small intestine and provides nutrition to the lower parts of the digestive tract. This tube may be preferred in patients with some stomach problems.
  4. Gastrostomy Tube: The gastrostomy tube is placed into the stomach by opening the abdominal wall. It is used in people who need long-term enteral nutrition. This type of tube is designed for long-term use and is easier to maintain.
  5. Jejunostomy Tube: The jejunostomy tube is inserted through the abdominal wall into the middle part of the intestine. This tube is often used in patients who have problems maintaining normal digestion due to stomach problems or stomach surgery. A jejunostomy tube is used to provide nutrition directly to the intestines.
  6. Gastrojejunal Tube: The gastrojejunal tube is placed at the gastrojejunal anastomosis site, which is a connection point between the stomach and small intestine. This type of tube is used in patients with certain digestive problems and is designed to control the passage of food into the intestines.

Which tube to use is determined by an evaluation between the patient and the healthcare professional. Each patient's needs are different and the most appropriate tube selection is made according to the patient's condition.

It should not be forgotten that enteral feeding tubes should be placed by experts and checked regularly. Cleaning and maintenance of the tubes is also important. Correct use and maintenance of all these tubes plays an important role in meeting the nutritional needs of patients.

I hope this information helped you about the types of enteral feeding tubes. It is important to consult your healthcare provider for any treatment method or tube selection.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Enteral Nutrition?

Enteral nutrition is an effective nutrition method that has many advantages and disadvantages. It is a very important choice, especially for individuals who have health problems and have difficulty eating normally. However, enteral nutrition also has some disadvantages. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of the enteral feeding method:


  1. Meeting Nutritional Needs: The enteral feeding method ensures that the person directly receives the nutrients he/she needs daily. In this way, the body, energy, protein It enables it to function in a healthier way by meeting its need for minerals and minerals.
  2. Strengthens the immune system: With enteral nutrition, the individual's immune system is strengthened and their resistance to diseases is increased. Strengthening the immune system is of great importance, especially for people with chronic diseases.
  3. Maintains Intestinal Functions: Enteral nutrition ensures proper functioning of the intestines. In individuals with digestive system problems, this nutritional method supports the digestive process and helps the intestines to function regularly.


  1. Risk of Escaping into Respiratory Tracts: During enteral feeding, there is a risk of food passing through the stomach and escaping into the respiratory tract. This may cause adverse effects and lead to respiratory problems in people using the enteral feeding method.
  2. Tolerance Issue: Each individual's digestive system may work differently, and some people may not be able to tolerate enteral nutrition. Especially in people with stomach problems, this method of nutrition can increase stomach discomfort and cause digestive problems.
  3. Stress Situation: Inserting an enteral tube through the mouth may cause stress in some people. This may cause psychological difficulties, especially for beginners. However, over time, this stress situation can decrease by getting used to it.

Enteral nutrition method is an effective method with many advantages. It has benefits such as meeting a person's nutritional needs, strengthening the immune system and supporting intestinal functions. However, it also has some disadvantages. The risk of leakage into the respiratory tract, tolerance problems and stress can be counted among the disadvantages of this method. Individuals who are considering applying enteral nutrition due to any health problem can make the right decision by evaluating these advantages and disadvantages.

What are the side effects that may develop during enteral nutrition?

Enteral nutrition can sometimes cause some side effects, although they do not occur in many patients. These side effects can be caused by a variety of conditions and may differ in each individual. It is important to provide information about these side effects that patients and healthcare professionals should be aware of, as well as ways to deal with them.

The most important of these is that the inserted tube cannot be placed correctly. Failure to place the tube correctly may prevent the feeding process from occurring effectively. However, tube blockage may also occur. A high viscosity or incorrectly formulated nutrient mixture can cause the tube to clog. Obstruction may require rapid intervention and therefore it is important for patients and healthcare professionals to be vigilant.

Tube dislocation due to enteral nutrition is another possible side effect. This may occur when the tube is not fixed correctly or becomes displaced due to the patient's movements. Dislodgement of the tube may stop the feeding process and lead to complications. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the tube is correctly positioned and securely fixed.

It is also unusual for the feeding tube to leak or break. This may occur due to incorrect connection of the tube or overuse. In this case, it is important to identify risk factors and ensure that the tube is used correctly.

Intestinal obstruction is a serious side effect that may occur due to enteral nutrition. Insufficient fluid intake may cause intestinal obstruction by increasing the amount accumulated in the intestines due to food intake. In this case, it is important to revise the nutrition plan and regulate the patient's fluid intake.

Infection in the area where the enteral feeding tube is placed is another possible side effect. The risk of infection may increase if the area where the tube is placed is not well sterilized or hygienic. To reduce the risk of infection, the area where the feeding tube is placed needs to be cleaned and replaced regularly.

The enteral feeding process may result in infection of the trachea or lungs. These infections usually occur as a result of aspiration. When the patient swallows food orally or if there is a problem with the area where the tube is placed, food may leak back into the lungs. In this case, it is important to monitor the patient's position and the feeding process.

Other possible side effects associated with enteral nutrition include ear and nasal infections. The feeding tube can become attached to the ear and sinus cavities and cause infections in these areas. When symptoms of infection in the ear and throat are noticed, it is important to seek medical attention.

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of enteral nutrition. In particular, these side effects may occur if the nutritional transition is started quickly or if the nutritional mixture is rapidly absorbed from the stomach. Nausea and vomiting can be controlled by regulating the feeding rate or revising the food mixture.

Other possible side effects during the enteral feeding process include diarrhea or constipation. Diarrhea may occur due to increased daily calorie or food intake. Constipation may occur as a result of insufficient fluid intake or nutritional supplements slowing down bowel movements. When symptoms of diarrhea or constipation are noticed, it is important to revise the patient's nutritional plan.

Finally, the regurgitation of food from the stomach into the mouth during enteral feeding is a side effect called gastric reflux. Gastric reflux can occur when the tube is not placed correctly or the pace of the feeding process is not regulated. In this case, it is important to control the patient's position and use antacid medications when necessary.

Side effects that may develop during the enteral feeding process may arise from many different situations. These side effects can be minimized by caution on the part of patients and healthcare professionals and by taking appropriate precautions. A nutrition plan and follow-up that suits the individual needs of each patient is important. In cases where side effects are noticed, medical help should be sought and necessary interventions should be performed.

What are the points to be considered in enteral nutrition?

Enteral nutrition is a method that provides nutrition directly from the digestive system to people who cannot take oral nutrition or cannot receive adequate nutrition for some reasons. There are a few important points to consider depending on the needs of the patients. In this article, we will share with you the points to consider in enteral nutrition.

First of all, it is very important that the tube to be used for enteral nutrition is of the correct thickness and placed correctly. The thickness of the tube must be suitable for the patient's digestive system, otherwise nutrition may not be provided or problems may occur. Additionally, one must ensure that the tube is positioned correctly and that it is securely fixed. The tightness of the tube should also be checked regularly and replaced if necessary.

It is also very important that the nutritional fluid has the appropriate content for the patient. Each patient's nutritional needs may be different, so nutritional fluid content should be selected accordingly. For example, if a patient has high energy needs, ingredients containing more calories should be included in the nutritional fluid. At the same time, the nutritional fluid of a patient who needs protein should contain sufficient amounts of protein. At this point, the dietician's recommendations and follow-up are very important so that the patient can be fed correctly.

Feeding speed is another point to consider in enteral nutrition. The nutrition rate of each patient may vary depending on the patient's tolerance and daily energy needs. For example, some patients can tolerate rapid feeding, while others may prefer a slower feeding. Therefore, the feeding rate should be monitored regularly and adjustments made if necessary. To monitor the patient's feeding rate, the amount of food intake over a period of time can be measured or a pumping device can be used in the feeding fluid tube.

Another important point in the enteral nutrition process is to constantly monitor the patient and check whether there is any change in the situation. Patients should feel well throughout the feeding process and should contact their healthcare provider immediately if they feel any discomfort or changes. During this process, the dietitian usually follows up the patient and makes changes to the nutrition program when necessary. Therefore, it is very important for patients to have regular check-ups and communication.

Enteral nutrition is a vital nutrition method for some patients. Therefore, it is very important to be aware of the points that need to be taken into consideration and apply them correctly. Points such as ensuring that the tube is of the correct thickness and placed well, selecting the feeding liquid in the appropriate content for the patient, adjusting the feeding rate specifically for the patient, and constantly monitoring the patient are important elements to be considered during the enteral feeding process. The recommendations and follow-up of healthcare professionals are very important in this regard, so if any problems occur, a healthcare professional should be consulted.


Also The Turkish Parenteral Nutrition You can take a look at our article about.