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December 2010, Volume 40 Number 12 , p 52 - 52


  • Bridget Parsh EdD, RN, CNS


Our unit is getting more and more adult patients with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes. How can I protect my patients from complications?-J.J., OHIOBridget Parsh, EdD, RN, CNS, and Akosua Burr, nursing student, reply: PEG tubes can cause various problems, including leakage, skin irritation, occlusion, dislodgement, and infections. But you can minimize these and other complications with proactive nursing assessment and intervention.Leakage is a common problem with PEG tubes. Possible causes are improper fit related to a patient's weight loss, an underinflated balloon on the tip of the tube, or a tube that's not adequately stabilized. Poor wound healing and increased intra-abdominal pressure (such as from frequent coughing, constipation, or gas) can also lead to leakage. In the case of leakage, make assessing and protecting the surrounding skin your first priority.1Skin irritation can result from leakage as well as pressure, sutures, infection, or sensitivity to the catheter

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