Your child may not be able to eat while they are on PICU. It may be too tiring for them. For example, small children may be using up a lot of energy on their breathing if they have a chest infection.
It is very common in PICU for your child to have a feeding tube. The tube commonly used goes through your child’s nose into their stomach. It is called a “nasogastric tube” or “NG” tube.
The tube can help with giving fluids and nutrition. It can also be used to give medications directly to your child's stomach. It helps remove air and bile if your child's gut needs a rest.
Some children will find it hard to tolerate their food through the feeding tube. Staff help your child by doing things such as slowing the speed that the feed is given. Medications can also be given to help the intestine to manage the feed. These are called “prokinetics”.
If the feeding tube to the stomach isn't working well there is a different tube that can be used. This tube goes further down in the small intestine. It is called a “nasojejunal” tube.
This page was reviewed by a paediatric intensive care medicine specialist in July 2022.