Foley Catheters as Temporary Gastrostomy Tubes: Experience of a Nurse-Led Service

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Abstract

Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube is the modality of choice for long-term enteral nutrition. In the event that replacement tubes are not available, urinary catheters can be used to maintain patency of the gastrostomy tract. This study reports our experience in a nurse-led service using Foley catheters as temporary gastrostomy tubes and the associated complications. Patients who had used Foley catheter as gastrostomy tube over a 2-year period (Jan 2011 to December 2012) were studied. Twenty-one patients had used Foley catheters as a temporary gastrostomy tube, and 12 (57.4%) did not experience any complications, including three patients who were still using Foley catheters at a median of 15 months (range 3–18). Two patients preferred the Foley catheter as feeding tubes. Six patients had replacements with formal balloon replacement tubes, and two patients did not require replacement. Complications occurred in nine (42.6%) patients: repeated burst Foley catheter balloon with peristomal leakage (n = 4), lumen blockage (n = 1), and catheter migration resulting in small bowel obstruction (n = 4). All complications were successfully managed with tube replacements. We showed that in a nurse-led service, using a Foley catheter as a temporary feeding gastrostomy tube is safe, but requires monitoring for complications.

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