Common Terms

Useful Definitions

Gain a better understanding of medical terminology associated with gastrostomy.

Telethon Kids Institute
Perth Children's Hospital
  • A


    The part of the body between the chest and the hips, including the stomach and other digestive organs. The abdominal wall is the protective layer of muscle and skin on the outside of the abdomen.


    May also be called connectors or ENFit Connectors. In gastrostomy feeding equipment, an adaptor connects the end of the feeding line to the bag for the feed.


    Breathing in something such as food or liquid into the airway or lungs. This happens when a person has a hard time swallowing. This can lead to coughing or difficulty breathing and may damage the lungs.


    Medicine that is given before surgery by an anaesthetist, so that a person having surgery has less awareness or is completely asleep through the procedure.

    Aqueous Gel

    A slippery liquid that lubricates or smooths. For example, you may put some gel on the low profile device before inserting into the stoma so that it can slide in easily.

  • B


    There are special backpacks designed for portable gastrostomy pump feeding. The feeding machine and feed bag sit inside the backpack and there is a hole for the feeding tube to thread through.

    Barrier Cream

    A thick moisturising cream that helps to heal sore or irritated skin. It creates a barrier that protects the skin. This is important for healing the new stoma that may be easily irritated by the feeding device.


    Food that has been chewed and mixed in the mouth with saliva. Chewing helps to break food up to a size that can be swallowed, and saliva helps break it down.

    Bolus Feeding

    A type of feeding where a measured amount of feed is given using an enteral feeding syringe, within a short period of time.

  • C


    A small plastic clip on the gastrostomy feeding tube. When it is shut, no liquid can flow through the tube.

    Continuous Feeding

    A type of enteral feeding that uses a feeding pump. Some children need food to be delivered slowly, so they are given feed at a set rate over a period of time.

  • D


    Allied health professionals who specialise in diet and nutrition. They can assess nutrition and growth and develop feeding plans for the child.


    Difficulty swallowing or an unsafe swallow. This makes it harder to eat or drink and food may be aspirated. Dysphagia may also cause pain.

  • E


    A long, flexible tube with a camera and light that is inserted through one of the body’s openings such as the mouth. It is used to look inside the body in a procedure called an endoscopy.

    Enteral Feeding

    Giving food directly into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, bypassing the mouth. Nutrition is provided through a tube that goes directly to the stomach or small intestine.


    Break down of skin due to rubbing or tearing.

  • F

    Failure to Thrive

    When the child’s growth is not meeting the standard weight for their age and height, or they are having a hard time maintaining growth. It is a sign of not getting enough calories.

    Feeding Tube

    Used to deliver food, liquids and/or medication through the stomach or small intestine (enteral feeding). There are several types of feeding tubes that are used.


    This is a flat disc that is around the feeding tube and placed on top of the stoma (on the skin of the tummy). It keeps the gastrostomy feeding tube in position.

    Flushing the Line

    Pushing some water through the gastrostomy feeding line to clear it of feed or medication, using a syringe.


    A surgical procedure that aims to stop gastroesophageal reflux. A part of the stomach is wrapped around the lower end of the oesophagus, which reduces acid going up into the oesophagus and reduces vomiting.

  • G


    The new soft tissue that forms around the stoma when it is healing. Over-granulation is when the body makes too much of this tissue which can make it look red and bumpy and bleed easily.

    Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

    A chronic condition (recurring problem) that happens when stomach acid flows into the oesophagus (food pipe) and irritates the inside of it. This can cause repeated vomiting.

    Gastrostomy Tube

    A type of feeding tube which is inserted endoscopically or surgically through the abdominal wall directly into the stomach. This tube is used to give food, liquids and medicine if there is difficulty swallowing.

    (G-Tube) Temporary Balloon Device

    A type of gastrostomy tube.

    Gastric Juices

    Digestive fluid (stomach acid) made inside of the stomach that helps to digest food.

  • I


    When a part of the body becomes red, swollen, hot, and sometimes painful, as an immune reaction to injury or infection. Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s healing.

  • J


    A surgical procedure where a jejunostomy feeding tube (also called a PEJ or J-Tube) is placed through the abdomen and passes through the stomach and directly into the middle of the small intestine.

    Jejunum (je-joo-num)

    One of the parts that make up the small intestine, just below the stomach. The small intestine is part of the digestive system which breaks down food from the stomach.

  • K

    Kangaroo Joey Pump

    The Kangaroo™ Joey enteral feeding pump is a portable and automated device used in enteral feeding. It has settings to select the timing and rate of feeding.

  • L

    Low Profile Device

    A skin level gastrostomy device that looks like a ‘button’. It is held in place with a balloon that is filled with water by a syringe.

  • M

    Mic-Key Button

    A button gastrostomy tube inserted into a pre-formed stoma that sits snugly against the skin. It is also called a low-profile gastrostomy device.


    A thick, slippery fluid produced by mucous membranes in parts of the body such as the nose or stomach.

  • N

    Nasal Passage

    The inside of the nose where air flows into. The walls of the nasal passage are covered in a mucous membrane.

    Nasogastric Tube (NGT)

    A thin, soft tube passed through a child’s nasal passage, down the back of the throat, through the oesophagus and into the stomach. It is used as a short-term feeding option.
Nutrition – The food that is needed for nutrients and calories to support health and growth.

    Nutritional Supplement

    A product designed to provide nutrients that are not being provided by regular diet. Supplements can be in the form of tablets or liquid containing nutrients necessary for health and growth.

  • O


    When a feeding tube becomes clogged or blocked. Flushing the line regularly will help to prevent occlusion of the tube.


    A tube that transports food from the throat to the stomach. It is also known as the food pipe.

  • P


    Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy, a procedure in which a feeding tube is placed through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. A PEG allows nutrition, fluids and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, instead of by mouth.


    Percutaneous Endoscopic Jejunostomy, a surgical procedure where a feeding tube is put through the abdominal wall and into the jejunum. The PEJ bypasses the stomach to give nutrition, fluids and/or medications.


    The parts of a low-profile device which can connect to other tubes. There is a feeding port for the feeding tube and balloon port for a syringe to put water into the balloon. The different ports are labelled.


    Priming the tube or bag means filling the tubes of the feed bag with the liquid feed. Priming makes sure that there is no air in the tube. If using a Kangaroo Joey pump, press the prime button to start this process.


    A psychologist is a mental health specialist who can diagnose and treat emotional, mental and behavioural problems or disorders.

  • R


    The amount of nutrition/feed given in one hour. The rate is calculated by dividing dose in millilitres (ml) by time in hours.

    RMO: Resident Medical Officer

    A doctor who is on duty to help with day-to-day care of all patients in the hospital.


    To turn. For example, rotating (turning) the flange when the stoma wound is healing will help stop the disk from sticking to the skin.

  • S


    A mixture of salt in water. Saline can be used to clean wounds.

    Social worker

    A health professional who helps people to make positive changes in their lives. Social workers can work with individual people, families or even communities.

    Speech Pathology

    Speech pathologists specialise in helping people with communication and swallowing problems. These can be problems with speaking, reading, writing, or eating and drinking (dysphagia).


    An environment or object that is completely free of bacteria or germs.


    A small surgically-created opening on the surface of the abdomen. The stoma site is where the gastrostomy feeding tube or mic-key button is inserted.


    A syringe is a container with a plunger at one end. One end has a thin narrow opening. The plunger is used to push or withdraw fluid through the syringe.

  • T


    Also known as the windpipe or airway. Air is transported from the mouth and nose through the trachea into the lungs when breathing.

  • V


    A small container used to hold liquids such as water or medicine.

    Video Fluoroscopy

    A type of swallowing test that uses an x-ray machine. A small amount of barium is swallowed, then the child may be asked to swallow soft and hard foods, or thin and thick liquids. The barium shows the food and drink on the x-ray so that a speech pathologist can see if the child’s swallow is safe or not.

  • W


    An injury on the body where the skin is cut or broken.

Learn & Decide

Module 01

You will learn about gastrostomy, why this may be recommended and who will help you. Parents also share their experiences.

First steps in hospital

Module 02

You will learn about what will happen once your child is admitted to hospital to have the gastrostomy inserted and how to feed.

Living well with gastrostomy

Module 03

Parents who have a child with gastrostomy speak about their experiences from early days to ongoing life with your family.

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