An Active Device for Restoring Patency in Clogged Small Bore Feeding and Decompression Tubes, Case Report Series.

Marcia Belcher, MSN, BBA, RN, CCRN-CSC, CCNS



Feeding tubes are used to deliver enteral nutrition (EN) to patients unable to ingest nutrients and medications orally and therefore at risk of malnutrition and dehydration.

Unfortunately, the long and narrow inner lumens of small bore feeding tubes used to deliver enteral nutrition and medication to patients often clog for various reasons including, delivery of high viscosity medications, chemical reactions between feeding formula and medication, or by inadequate tube maintenance. Clogged feeding tubes can cause patients to go extended periods without nutrition and medication, and attempts to unclog tubes strain valuable nursing resources. Traditional methods to clear clogged feeding tubes are often unsuccessful, potentially leading to hospitalization, invasive procedures for tube replacement, and patient discomfort. The TubeClear® System, an FDA-cleared medical device, was developed to restore patency in clogged feeding tubes while the tube remains in the patient. The system is comprised of a reusable Control Box that actuates a single-use Clearing Stem. The Clearing Stem inserts into the feeding tube and its tip moves backwards and forwards to mechanically disrupt and ultimately clear the clog. This case series documents twelve cases in which the TubeClear System was used to clear clogged feeding tubes. All cases were completed by a single licensed healthcare practitioner and were 100% successful without any issues reported by the practitioner and/or patients. The ability to quickly clear clogged feeding tubes while the tube remains in the patient will save healthcare resources, and ease the burden on patients and caregivers.

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