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Artificial Hydration


Definition: A method of providing nutrition and fluids through a tube to a person who cannot eat or drink normally. These are also called "feeding tubes."

Description: There are two methods for tube feeding. Nutrition in liquid form can be given through a small flexible tube passed through the nose to the stomach, or the liquid can be given through a tube that is surgically inserted into the stomach by way of the abdomen.

Benefits: Ability to obtain fluid and nutrition when you are otherwise unable to obtain this intake by mouth.  

Risks: The nose tube can make talking and swallowing uncomfortable; it can also cause irritation and soreness in the nose. Infection may develop at the site of a stomach tube. Pneumonia can develop if fluid or food gets into the lungs rather than the stomach. This is called "aspiration" and aspiration cannot be prevented by tube feeding.

 


This man is being fed
through a tube passed
through his stomach.

 

 



This woman is being fed
through a tube passed
through her nose.