Design and experimental evaluation of an anti-leak feeding tube

Luke G. Gutwein, Richard D. Helmig, Clinton D. Bahler, Kfir Ben-David, Kevin E. Behrns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background Enteral feeding via gastrostomy or jejunostomy tube is often required to adequately treat patients with cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, and cerebral vascular accident. Although sufficient to provide adequate caloric intake, the present design of a gastrostomy tube is inadequate. Leakage of gastric contents onto the skin is commonplace prompting emergency department visits and skin damage that requires costly nonoperative and operative intervention. We introduce a new gastrostomy tube design and prototype that inhibits leakage by using an adjustable external retaining member, which compresses against the feeding tube shaft thereby preventing dynamic friction. Methods A conventional external retaining member of a 22 French gastrostomy tube was tested against a novel compression-fitting external retaining member. Each gastrostomy tube was clamped to a scale and the external retaining member moved to slide along the tubing at a constant rate, and the applied frictional force was recorded. Thirty repetitions were performed. Results The experimental prototype generated ×2.5-3 the frictional force preventing tube excursion. Mean (standard deviation) forces were 18 (3) versus 46 (4) ounces (n = 10, P = 2.57E-13) and 15 (4) versus 48 (4) ounces (n = 10, P = 1.90E-13) for conventional and experimental designs, respectively. Simulated in situ environment mean forces were 19 (3) versus 39 (3) ounces (n = 10, P = 3.30E-11) for conventional and experimental designs, respectively. Conclusions The experimental design created an increased static frictional force that inhibited the movement of the external retaining member against the gastrostomy tube. Clinical implementation is the next step to evaluate for reduced feeding tube morbidity and healthcare expenses by preventing leakage of gastric contents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Feeding tube
  • Gastrostomy tube
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Design and experimental evaluation of an anti-leak feeding tube'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this