University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Journal publication date4 Jul 2019
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jul 2019


Background: Concerns associated with blended enteral feeds include risk of blocked tubes and microbial contamination but evidence is limited.  This lab-based investigation aimed to examine these risks in a blended feed providing a nutritionally adequate intake for a hypothetical patient.

 Methodology: One blended feed recipe was made using three different methods (professional, jug and stick blenders) and three storage procedures.  Feed samples were syringed via 10, 12 and 14 French enteral feeding tubes and blockages and time taken recorded.  Feed samples were diluted, plated on agars, incubated and bacterial colony forming units (CFU) counted. After storage at -80oC, identification was undertaken using 16S rRNA PCR sequencing.

 Results: Two blockages occurred during 27 administrations of feed made using a professional blender but were resolved with water flush. No blockages occurred with the 14 French tube and administration was quicker with wider tubes (P<0.00001).  There was no significant difference between total bacterial CFU of feeds prepared using different methods (P=0.771) or stored differently.  The genus of bacteria identified included Enterococcus, Bacillus, lactose-fermenting Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus. Pathogens, such as Clostridium spp., Salmonella sppand Vibrio spp., were not identified by phenotypic tests used. Sequencing identified E. coli, Shigella species, Streptococcus lutetiensis and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

 Principal conclusions: This evaluation found no risk of tube blockages when one blended feed recipe made using three methods was delivered via a 14 French tube. There is concern about bacterial contamination although this was not influenced by the methods of preparation or storage used in this study.

Research outputs

ID: 16269167