Childrens Services

Naso-Jejunal (NJ) tube - before your child’s insertion

This page is intended to offer information to parents and carers who have children needing a Naso-Jejunal (NJ) tube inserted.

What is a NJ tube?Show [+]Hide [-]

A NJ tube is a thin tube which goes into your child’s nose, down through their stomach and into their bowel. They come in different lengths and thickness and can be kept in short or long-term.

Why do some children need to have a NJ tube?Show [+]Hide [-]

Many children have feeding difficulties that can be helped by taking ‘high energy’ drinks or medication. Other children have more complicated feeding difficulties or conditions requiring the use of an NJ tube in the short or long-term.

If a child is unable to tolerate feeds into their stomach they may need to have a NJ tube inserted. If a decision is made for your child to have a NJ tube, this will provide a way for extra nourishments to be given, usually in the form of a milk formula. Your child’s dietitian will discuss the type and amount of feed your child will need. Having feeds this way is known as ‘enteral feeding’.                                                                                        

Some examples of many reasons for a child needs a NJ tube are:

  • Excessive vomiting  
  • Pain when feeding  
  • Inability to gain weight with feeding into their stomach  
  • They require a trial of hypoallergenic/polymeric feeding to try and improve the symptoms they are experiencing due to an underlying medical condition.

How is a NJ tube inserted and how long will my child be in hospital?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • A NJ tube is usually inserted when the child is awake on the ward or in the x-ray department with the use of a special x ray machine. In some circumstances, sedation can be used or if the child is undergoing a general anaesthetic for another procedure, ie, endoscopy, it can be inserted the same time as that, when the child is asleep.
  • The NJ tube is passed into the child’s nose through either nostril, down the back of their nose, into their oesophagus and into their stomach. It is then moved further into their small bowel. The position of the tube then needs to be checked with an x-ray before your child can be fed.
  • They need to stay in hospital for a few days so that you can learn how tolook after the NJ tube and your child can get started on feeds.
  • You will be able to stay with your child whilst they are in hospital.
  • The NJ tube will need to be changed every six weeks, unless your doctor says that it can stay in for longer. This will be changed in the hospital as above.

                                            Nasal Jejunal tube

How is the NJ tube kept in place?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your child’s tube will be secured onto their face with soft tape. They will also have a soft dressing applied directly to their cheek to prevent the skin from becoming sore.

Risks, benefits, and effects on quality of lifeShow [+]Hide [-]

As each patient is different, these will be discussed with your child’s doctor before the NJ tube is put in.

If you have you any questionsShow [+]Hide [-]

If you have any questions these can be answered by the nurse on the ward. After you go home, these can be answered by your children’s community nurse. It is sometimes a good idea to write them down. Before your child is discharged you will be given an aftercare booklet and the contact numbers needed are included

More information

Contact details

Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00am to 5.00pm

Please contact your child’s community nurse or telephone the ward that you were discharged from.

Outside the hours stated above: please telephone the ward that you were discharged from.

For further information

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS.

Useful websites

For further information about health conditions and treatment options, you may wish to have a look at the NHS Choices website. On this website there is an information prescription generator which brings together a wealth of approved patient information from the NHS and charity partners which you may find helpful.

PDF leaflet

You can also download a PDF version of the information on this page

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