problems with clogged j-tube/buttonclogged

I have had this j-tube button for a year now. recently i have had problems with it clogging after the end of my feeding, when i try to flush it with a 60cc bulb nutrition nurse recommended using coca cola . i did that, but i couldn't flush. so i put the coke in the bag and thru the pump. I primed it for a short while till i heard a "swish" and the solution started going thru faster. This is happening several times a week. I am seeing my GI in New York on Thursday. he is going to try to "unclog" it with a form of a brush or fine tube.....He wants to avoid putting in another tube as I am a high risk for anesthesia.... Has anyone gone thru this experience to have their tube unclogged?

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Ask your doctor about a product called Clog Zapper. You can find out about it on the Internet. It's made up of an enzyme mixture and designed to clear blockages just like Draino. It's about $25 plus shipping. Sorry I can't think of the manufacturer's name.

I was disappointed in it because it doesn't address the problem of build up on the interior of the tube. I've been told to flush the tube with Coke, Adolph's meat tenderizer, and other weird things, but none cleans the hardened food build up that coats the tube and will, I assume, eventually close it off.

When my mother's second tube was placed, the surgeon used a much shorter tube than the original. This has enabled me to very carefully insert long Q-Tips (wooden end) to gently try to keep the tube open, but I can't scrape off the build up. Then I use a pipe cleaner and carefully run it down the tube only to where it enters the stomach, following this by a flush of water. Sometimes squeezing the tube where it appears to be blocked also helps.

Personally, I can't believe someone hasn't come up with a fool proof product to prevent this from happening. In my mother's case, if the tube blocks we may have to decide to allow her to die because she is bedridden and has no quality of life as it is.

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thank-you Guardian angel. I am very sorry about your Mom......I also cared for my Mother and had to make some very hard decisions. What helped, is I have a sister and together we vowed not to make any decisions alone.......I looked up the un-clogger solution and will show the info to my Physician tomorrow.....Take care, I will be thinking of you.....

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My daughter was prescribed a combination of one capsule of pancrealipase combined with 1 tablet of sodium bicarb dissolved in 10cc of water and instilled into the tube. You draw back whatever you can and put in as much of the enzyme/bicarb solution as you can and let it sit. Flush with as much water as you will tolerate before your next feed, and it should clear.

She is 3 1/2 and this combination has prevented a gj change at least 4 times in the last year.

Hope that helps a bit.

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I was told in addition to using soda pop to break up a clog, to use cranberry juice. I tried this the other day when my tube clogged after I took my medicines (I didn't dissolve the crushed pills good enough), and it helped out quite a bit. I warmed the cranberry juice up in the microwave and flushed my tube with it. I had to push on the syringe quite a bit, but I finally got the clog to break up.


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Many clinicians and tube manufacturers caution against using soda, cola and cranberry juice for two reasons:
1. The sugar can make the tube sticky and cause more blockages down the road
2. The acid content can bother some patients' GI systems.

There is a good discussion of clogged tubes on the Oley HEN Complication Chart. Check it out at.

Also, to help prevent clogs and reduce build up, try these tips posted on the Tube Feeding Tips page (
After flushing with warm water, squeeze the tube between your thumb and forefinger and run this along the length of the tube away from the body. This can clear out some of the build up in the tube. Other patients do the same thing, but squeeze the tube between the tines on a fork.

Call me if this doesn't make sense.

Roslyn Dahl
Oley Staff Member
(800) 776-OLEY

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