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Dysphagia. 1990;5(1):1-5.

Indications for tube feedings in elderly patients.

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  • Man Appalachian Regional Healthcare, WV 25635.


Tube feedings are utilized in elderly patients with acute and chronic problems. Inadequate oral intake with malnutrition, comatose state, neurologic disorders with severe dysphagia, extensive burns, massive gastrointestinal resection, and oropharyngeal and upper gastrointestinal malignancies are the commonly encountered conditions requiring tube alimentation. Dysphagia with frequent aspiration is the most common indication for use of tube feedings in the elderly. Nasogastric tube is preferred for short-term feeding, while gastrostomy or jejunostomy is indicated for long-term or permanent nutritional support. Nutritional assessment should be done initially and on a regular basis. Specific formulas are available to calculate height, weight, and caloric needs of bedbound elderly patients. Various enteral feeding formulas are available for a specific clinical condition and are preferably administered by continuous drip using a pump. Parenteral nutrition is also indicated for certain situations in which enteral feeding cannot meet the patient's nutritional requirement, and in particular situations where enteral feeding is contraindicated and not feasible. Optimal patient care is dependent on adequate nutritional support.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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