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What Is a Corpak®?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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A Corpak® is a feeding tube manufactured by Corpak Medsystems. This manufacturer offers a range of enteral feeding products that deliver nutrition directly to the stomach or intestines for patients who cannot eat on their own. Many medical suppliers carry Corpak® products and they are preferred by some hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.

Corpak Medsystems has been based in Wheeling, Illinois since 1979. The company specializes in making products for enteral feeding. It is especially concerned with the development of products that increase safety. Corpak® feeding tubes are available for both short and long term uses, in a variety of lengths and diameters to suit the needs of different patients.

Corpak makes both nasogastric and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes. Nasogastic tubes are usually used for short term feeding. They are threaded through the nose into the stomach and allow for rapid and easy delivery of nutrition for the patient. PEG tubes are used for long term feeding of patients who are not getting enough nutrition independently. In addition to tubes, Corpak® also manufactures feeding bags, pumps, declogging devices, and other equipment utilized in enteral feeding.

Corflo® nasogastric tubes are available in regular and Anti-IV varieties. The Anti-IV product has special connection points that make it impossible to connect it with an intravenous needle, ensuring that intravenous drugs are not accidentally introduced through the Corpak® tube. Likewise, the accessories for the feeding tube are designed to be incompatible with intravenous catheters to avoid injecting nutritional mixtures into an intravenous line.

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Other Corpak® products include tracking systems that are used to monitor the placement of a feeding tube. In the case of nasogastric tubes, it is possible to insert a tube improperly. This can have serious consequences for the patient if it is not caught before nutritional mixes are injected into the tube, as for example if a feeding tube ends up in one of the lungs.

Enteral feeding can be an option for a patient during short term recovery or for long term care in cases where patients cannot eat on their own. A doctor must prescribe an appropriate diet and some adjustments may be required to find a diet that works for the patient. Many patients experience discomfort and nausea, especially at first. While using a feeding tube, it is important to communicate any side effects experienced, as they may be signs of complications or an intolerance of the diet.

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anon330822
Post 5

@skittish: A PEG goes through the abdominal wall into your stomach. What your friend's dad (the I.C. in his arm where they feed him through) has is more than likely parental (bypassing the Gastrointestinal tract) nutrition. PEG and parental nutrition are different. If you were to give PEG formulas into the vein things go bad very quickly. Just thought I would mention it. Nursing student here.

SkittisH
Post 4

@TheGraham - Good informative comment. You're right, feeding tubes aren't inserted into the mouth because of the possibility that the human gag reflex will cause the patient to vomit.

My friend's dad is in a coma, and the doctors put an IV in his arm that feeds him; thanks to this article I now know that's called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy or PEG tube.

The human gag reflex is not only strong and uncomfortable for patients, but it can be dangerous for coma patients. If the body gags and vomits while the person is laying on their back, they can drown in that vomit. What a horrible way to go!

TheGraham
Post 3

@aishia - Hi aishia. I wanted to add onto what Malka said about feeding tubes and note that feeding tubes aren't stuck down the throat because they cause irritation, and also because the human gag reflex would make you feel like retching constantly.

Not only that, but many conditions that make a feeding tube necessary involve paralysis of or immobility of the jaw, so maybe your mouth wouldn't be able to open enough to admit a tube anyway.

One of the good things about feeding tubes is that for the short-term nasogastric ones, you are awake, so you can indicate to the doctor or nurse that things don't feel right if the tube is inserted incorrectly.

This is one of those medical technologies that sounds scary, but is really a big help for hospitalized people who can't eat. Patients who are in a coma and can't eat on their own are particularly helped by this technology.

Before intravenous feeding and tube feeding were invented, people in a coma would literally lay there and starve to death, because doctors that far back in history didn't know how to help them.

Hope this helps answer some of your questions!

Malka
Post 2

@aishia - As the article notes, nasogastric feeding tubes (the kind that go up your nose) are used for short-term feeding and percutaneous feeding tubes (the kind that goes into your bloodstream by accessing a vein using a needle stuck in the skin) are used for long-term feeding.

Based on the above information, it sounds like which kind you get really depends on what kind of condition you have, and whether you're in the hospital short-term or long-term. If you're there for a short-term period, I suspect that you will end up with a nasogastric feeding tube whether you like it or not.

I'm sure the doctor would do everything they could to make it as comfortable as possible for you, though, and that if you expressed concern about the tube being fed into your lungs by accident they would check and double-check it to reassure you.

aishia
Post 1

Yikes. I always thought that the idea of having a tube stuck my nose for feeding purposes would be weird and uncomfortable, but the fact that it's possible to accidentally thread it down into my lungs is just plain worst case scenario fuel.

Is there any choice of different types of feeding tubes when your doctor decides you need to use one, or do they decide based on what condition you have? If I ever have to have a feeding tube put in, I sincerely hope they do not have to put it up my nose. Why don't they just stick the tube down the throat, anyway?

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