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HELP!!! Need suggestions - J-Tube is plugged and we can't flush it!!!

Susie_Brendon's picture
Susie_Brendon
Posts: 141
Joined: Feb 2011

So, Brendon ran the pump all night and then when he tried to flush it this morning, we can not get anything to go through it...

We have tried the "plunge" method, coke, and meat tenderizor...

Anyone have any other helpful tips? Not really wanting to have to go to the hospital if we don't have to....

Aughh...if it's not one thing, it's another...

Thanks,
Susie

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi,
I had a j tube for 3 months but it never got clogged so can't help you. Any other problems I had with it, I called the visiting nurse even when she wasn't on my case she would help me and then I could call the nurses at the cancer center. I will tell you while some can put meds in their tubes, my drs strongly advised against it since I had to have mine replaced one week after surgery after they think a nurse crushed a med and put it in it. Was not a nice experience but got fitted with a better tube. Hope someone else can come on with more suggestions, I had a clogged ng tube and my husband and I had many clogged times. Just kept flushing with coke and water and was lucky enough to unplug it. Hope someone can help. take care,
Donna70

Susie_Brendon's picture
Susie_Brendon
Posts: 141
Joined: Feb 2011

Well, we call the dr hotline that installed the j-tube...since he has only had it in for 10 days, the dr I spoke to this morning said we can not change it out yet but to get with his dr. in the morning.. We have not put anything in it other than iso-source and water..no meds...nothing remotely thick... So, I guess we will just wait and see... We tried the coke and still nothing... So...once again...frustrated and waiting...............................

Susie

petals007's picture
petals007
Posts: 24
Joined: Nov 2010

When my J-Tube got plugged both Sprite and Ginger Ale always did the trick. I know you said you tried Coke, and I have no clue if one soda is better than the other.... but on the off chance that it helps I figured I would throw it out there.

Also, to prevent clogging try to flush the J-Tube every 4 to 6 hours if you aren't already doing so. It's not 100% necessary as that's pretty frequent, but I say that only because if you do so I guarantee that you wont have to worry about clogging again, lol.

My doctor told me to flush my J-Tube every 8 ~ 10 hours and maybe every 4th or 5th day it would get clogged if I followed that time frame. Flushing it every couple of hours took care of that issue.

Donna70's picture
Donna70
Posts: 920
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi,
Just thought of the same thing flushing a lot and that also helps get more fluid in you. I do think I had some problems with the plastic part that I wore. Think they gave me a new one. Also, when my first one went bad in the hospital, the drs tried to clear it with wires etc. They sent me down to the radiologist and he tried too but then he pulled it out and put in another one. Hope your hubby does not have to have it but medicate him or ask for meds. They told me it would not hurt but because it was so new it did and the dr gave me some Fentanyl. I had the longer Ivor Lewis surgery and still had a lot of tubes in etc. Don't put any sharps in the tube yourself let the drs do what they want. My home nurse was the biggest help to me. take care and good luck.
Donna70

hobbssy
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2010

Sometimes if you use a smaller syringe to flush with, you get more pressure and might be able to un-plug it. Usually they give you a 50 cc syringe to use for flushing, but if you have a 5 or 10 cc. syringe it might work. Also trying pulling back and forth on the syringe. Hope this helps.

linda1120's picture
linda1120
Posts: 438
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Susie,

Jim's was getting plugged and I kept putting the coke in and letting it sit in there for a while and then going back and pulling the plunger back and forth and it finally broke free. We did what Anthony suggested and until we could change the plastic tubes out we flushed it with warm water about every 3-4 hrs. I felt like I was getting up with a baby again! :-) Ya have to make lemonade! I have found that if the coke goes flat it doesn't work as well. I now have a bottle of coke in the frig, that way I can close it up.

I hope this helps you, just keep at it, and it will finally give. I think it is the vitamins and minerals in the "formula" that clog it. We have done medication crushed for two months and never had a problem with that. The clogs we have had have been from the formula. Be sure and flush before and after feedings with at least two full 60cc syringes.

Linda

dwhite0002
Posts: 130
Joined: Jan 2010

I have had this issue, mostly when I was new to dealing with a j-tube. Sometimes just persistence with pushing water through it works. In the beginning, I tried to be "so careful." Don't worry, you can't really do anything to it.

However, if it just wont unstop, you can have your local ER replace it. Just go in and tell them you need a catrheter pulled and replaced. Have them stitch it back in place. All they will do is pull out the old one and push in the new one.

This sounds gruesome, but I have had it done...not as bad as it sounds.

Sometimes it hurts a bit afterwards because of moving the tube in and out, but this goes away.

other times, I have had no pain...

Hope this helps...

-DW

Susie_Brendon's picture
Susie_Brendon
Posts: 141
Joined: Feb 2011

So Brendon went in this morning for a Tube Test Scan...or something like that...long story short...they were able to get the J-tube unplugged... Dietician will be out later today for a new formula because the other one was creating "allergic reactions" to Brendon... not sure this is what it was...but no chances...we are changing formulas.

Good news today...Brendon weighed in 2 lbs more than yesterday!! So...a gain of about 4 lbs this week!!! YEAH!!!

For someone who is always on a diet (ME!)... I couldn't believe how excited I was to read the scale today for him!!!

Anyway...radiation day 2 complete...and the 5FU chemo pack is on...and first round of cisplatin complete. All with very little side effects. Thank you Jesus.

Alright...thanks everyone for suggestions on the J-tube... in time, i won't panic as much. :-)

Susie

hope for the best
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello Susie,

My name is May and I've joined CSN today on behalf of my Dad who doesn't speak very well English so I along with my siblings are his advocates!
My Dad started to use his feeding tube less than a week ago and we have been having issues with flushing the tube. He was discharged on Sat so during his stay the nurses have been flushing the tube but once we got home he was flushing every 4 hours around the clock.
Has Brendon continued to have issues? My Dad is on iso source as well and just wondering if that formula is too thick?
I will be at the hospital tomorrow to speak with the radiologist so just want to be prepared with questions/options to ask for.
Thanks Susie!

Daisylin's picture
Daisylin
Posts: 380
Joined: May 2011

I think most of the answers are found on this thread. My husband's tube has become clogged several times, and we tried the small syringe with warm water, which worked well, we found coke not to work all that great.

The one thing that we found best was an enzyme pill that you mix with water and push it with a small syringe into the feeding tube, let it sit for a few minutes, then flush it with water. It worked well, and the clog totally vanished. You can get the enzyme at your cancer clinic, it's pretty inexpensive too, I think it cost us about $2 for a bag full of it. Be sure dad flushes whenever he unplugs the feeding tube. The stuff turns to cement in minutes, so try to remember to do it right away. If it is clogged beyond your powers to fix it, the hospital can help.

Hope that helps, and please feel free to ask us any questions you may have. We have a lot of knowledge, compassion and advice. Also, a great shoulder to cry on.

Chantal

chemosmoker's picture
chemosmoker
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 2011

May,
Hello and welcome to the board! I am glad you are advocating for your father and are there for him. I think if you go back and read the many posts here about the J-TUBE you will find all of your questions answered, as Chantal pointed out. We are glad you are here, although we wish you AND your dad never had to hear the word cancer! I wish you well and hope you will continue to post and ask lots of questions. There is a GREAT forum of people here, unlike ANY of the many other message boards I have seen about cancer. We really care for/about each other. I read your about me page too, I hope your dad can come home again soon. We will be prying for him, and sending you strength to help him fight too.

Susie,
I am OVERJOYED to read that the feeding tube was unclogged. I hope you can get some of those enzyme tablets that Lee and Chantal got and that they work for you, too. I am so happy for you that Brendon is GAINING weight! That is certainly the RIGHT direction for any of us to go! I know Michelle makes ALL kinds of jokes about having watched her weight for years, with all those diets and fads we have in America, and now to be SO focused on GAINING weight, it makes for a funny change-up indeed! I hope things continue to go as well for you and Brendon, and that all the test results are as positive as they sound. Certainly sounds like Brendon handled the chemo well; I hope this continues to be the case. We will continue to pray for you and watch for updates!

May God bless all of you and keep you CALM!
-Eric

birdiequeen's picture
birdiequeen
Posts: 329
Joined: Mar 2011

Susie contributed a great deal to this board during Brendon's battle but sadly Brendon has passed and we have not heard from Susie. I think of her and her children often and hope they are doing well. I'm glad her post on a clogged J-tube may help others.

chemosmoker's picture
chemosmoker
Posts: 525
Joined: Aug 2011

I am so sorry. I thought this was a current post reading the last posts and read the original post NOT realizing that it was from back in February. I am very embarrassed. My apologies to all. I must pay closer attention to the date of the original thread and make sure I am not replying too fast. Thank you for the correction. I do hope the thread does continue to help others. That is probably why it came up to the top, and I just didn't see the date. I am humbled.
Eric

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