A Bit of VyGyvering: Using curly tubing for enteral feeds

When we switched from TPN to enteral feeds in March, we were supposed to go from the lovely, stretchy, old-school-phone-cord Vygon “curly” tubing we’d been using for TPN to the short, not-stretchy, not-curly, not-lovely, anxiety-inducing-because-who-knows-what-it-will-get-wrapped-around-in-the-middle-of-the-night regular tubing that comes attached to enteral feed bags.

That would not do.

So, after a bit of quick googling that turned up some ideas but no methods or results from trial runs, we decided to try our hands at MacGyvering the Vygon IV tubing so we could use it for enteral feeds. We simply hooked up the Vygon tubing to the G-tube extension on one end, inserted the end of the feed bag tubing on the other end, taped the crap out of it and hoped for the best. And — it has now been approximately 115 nights, if my count is correct, and we have fed the bed exactly once.

For anyone out there who’s interested in trying it, here’s a quick tutorial:

1. Widen this end of the Vygon tubing just a smidge by inserting the tip of closed scissors and spinning the scissors a few times. Bonus points if your scissors coordinate with the color of your feed connectors. Z is stylish that way.

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2. Insert the connector of the feed bag tubing that looks like a geometric purple Christmas tree into this end of the Vygon tubing that looks kind of like one of the Easter Island dudes with giant Dumbo ears. (As you can see, these are very technical instructions.)

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3. Insert the other end of the Vygon tubing into the small port on the G-tube extension.

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4. Tape the crap out of it. Wrap around the connection at the small port, keeping downward pressure on the Vygon tubing toward the g-tube extender, then keep wrapping around all the elbows of the port end of the extension in a way that allows you to come back around the connection point in both directions – so, if your first pass around it is clockwise, make sure you come back around counter-clockwise before you’re done so there’s pressure on it from all directions to keep it in place.

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When you’re finished it will look something like this:

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5. Tape the crap out of the other part too. Take a moment to make a weirdo face while you think about the prospect of being able to sleep better at night, if only your dear sweet child would actually sleep for once….

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6. Proceed with priming the tubing and hooking up as usual. Ta Da!

If you try this out, or if you have other solutions, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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