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HealthInfo Canterbury

Tube feeding with a gastrostomy tube

This factsheet tells you how to care for your feeding tube and stoma (the artificial opening into your stomach) and how to take your feed and medications via your tube.


A gastrostomy is an artificial opening through your abdomen into your stomach. A feeding tube is inserted through the opening so that special liquid food (feed), medications and fluids can go directly into your stomach. Some feeding tubes go down into your jejunum, a part of your small intestine.

There are two types of gastrostomy tube, a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) and a RIG (radiologically Inserted gastrostomy). These terms describe how the tube is fitted.

PEG and RIG tubes both have centimetre (cm) markings.

A – Feeding port. B – Flange (bumper). C – Clamp. D – Balloon inflation-deflation port.

PEG tube

The PEG tube has a flange (bumper) inside your stomach to keep your tube in the right position. The tube can remain in place for 18 months or longer.

The feeding port on the end of the tube can be replaced as shown on the diagram.

RIG tube

The RIG tube has a water filled balloon that holds the tube in your stomach. The nurse will show you how to check the balloon.

The tube will need to be replaced approximately every six months. This is a very simple procedure and the PEG nursing service will contact you to arrange a clinic appointment.

If the flange (bumper) is at the same cm marking but further away from your skin than normal, the balloon may have deflated. If this happens, try to push the tube back into its original position and tape it down. Contact the PEG Nursing Service urgently (see the contact details below).


Flush your feeding tube with warm water before and after you tube feed, and before and after you take medications down your tube.

If you have safe drinking water, you can use tap water to flush your tube. Otherwise, use boiled, cooled water.

If you have a jejunal tube, always use boiled, cooled water to flush your tube.


Only put the following down your feeding tube:

Don't put puréed food down your feeding tube.

Feeding methods

There are two methods of tube feeding, bolus feeding using a syringe and pump feeding. Your dietitian will decide which type of feeding is best for you.

Bolus feeding via a syringe – This is when you have a set amount of feed at specified times during the day. This is similar to having meals at mealtimes.

Pump feeding – This is when a pump is used to continuously deliver a set amount of feed through your feeding tube over a set amount of time.

Your dietitian will discuss both options with you in more detail and provide you with a plan and instructions when needed. See:


The hospital pharmacist will review your medications before you go home to make sure you can take them through your feeding tube. There are some important points to note.

Caring for your equipment and feed

Caring for your feeding tube and stoma

Your stoma

Your feeding tube


If your feeding tube comes out, your stoma will begin to close within two to three hours.

Contact the PEG Nursing Service immediately (see below). You may need to go to the hospital to have it put back in.



Possible cause

Recommended action

Your skin around the tube is very red and painful and there is pus.

You may have an infection. First check that the flange isn't too firm on your skin.

See your GP who may prescribe antibiotics.

Your skin is “raw” around the tube insertion site.

You may have what's called overgranulation tissue.

This is common and easily treated. Contact the PEG nursing service within normal working hours. See the contact details below.

The feeding tube is blocked

Try to unblock it using a 60 mL syringe half filled with warm water. Use a gentle push pull method to dislodge the blockage.

If you can't clear the blockage, contact the PEG nursing service. If after hours, contact the on-call service. See the contact details below.

Feed is leaking during feeding.

Your tube may have come out of your stomach but still be sitting under your skin.

Contact the PEG nursing service. If after hours, contact the on-call service. See the contact details below.

Supplies, syringes and giving sets

Contact the Canterbury DHB Supply Department (see below).

Give as much notice as possible. Let them know if you can't collect the giving sets as they can courier them to you. There's no charge for giving sets, syringes or delivery.

If you're under the care of the Ashburton Hospital dietitians, phone the Ashburton Supply Department (see below). You'll need to collect your giving sets from the Supply Department.

Your hospital dietitian will organise your feed when you first go home. After this, your community dietitian will organise it. If you need to contact your feed supplier because your feed hasn't arrived, use the contact details below.

Contact details

PEG Nursing Service

Phone: 027-351-2474, or (03) 364-0640 ext. 88945

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 6 pm

For urgent help after hours (only after hours), for example, if your tube falls out, phone Christchurch Hospital on (03) 364-0640 and ask to speak with the Gastro Nurse on call.

Canterbury DHB Supply Department

Phone: (03) 364-0082 or (03) 364-0080

Address: 4 Rapide Way, Yaldhurst (near the airport)

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Ashburton Hospital Supply Department

Phone: (03) 307-8462

Address: Ashburton Hospital, Entrance D, 12 Elizabeth St, Ashburton

Open for collection: Monday to Friday, 10.30 am to 2.30 pm.

Feeding pump suppliers

For any issues with your pump, use the following contact details:

Feed suppliers

Written by Nutrition & Dietetics and PEG Nursing Service, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.


Page reference: 482996

Review key: HITUB-482880