The Pediatric Emergency Department Nurse and Gastrostomy Tube Replacement: How Safe Is it?

Katie Vanderhoef, Chantel Proudford, Ilounose Amoni, Czarina Jimenez, Jonathon Strutt, Bradley Segura, Jennifer Zaremba, Jeffrey P. Louie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim To review the outcomes of a nurse-only guideline for replacement of gastrostomy tubes (g-tubes) in a pediatric emergency department (ED) and compare rates of success, failure, length of stay (LOS), and return visits with that of ED physicians. Design Nursing g-tube guidelines, created by a nurse educator and nursing council, were instigated on January 31, 2018. Variables examined included LOS, age at visit, return visit within 72 hours, reason for replacement, and any postplacement complications. Review Methods Data of g-tube placement by nurses and physicians were compared using t test or χ2 analysis (IBM-SPSS version 20, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY). The institutional review board determined the study to be exempt from human subjects. The STROBE checklist was used and completed accordingly. Data Sources Chart abstraction and data were collected from January 1, 2011 through April 13, 2020, and medical records were obtained using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes for g-tubes: Z93.1, K94.23. Results A total of 110 patients were included in our study. Fifty-eight underwent nursing-only replacements; 52 were replaced by physicians. Nurse replacement success rate was 98.3% with an average stay of 22 minutes. Physician success rate was 100% with an average stay of 86 minutes. The difference between nursing and physician LOS was 64.6 minutes. No patient in either group experienced postreplacement complications. Conclusions The initiation of nurse-only management of dislodged g-tubes was successful, safe, and had a shorter LOS when compared with physicians in the pediatric ED. Impact Our study determined the implications of nurse-only replacement of g-tubes in a pediatric ED. We found that nurses replacing g-tubes was equally safe and effective as physician counterparts. In addition, we found that it significantly reduced the LOS for patients, which has consequences on patient satisfaction and billing. Patient/Public Contribution Nursing staff were trained in g-tube replacement using guidelines created by a nurse educator and nursing council. Patients either had their dislodged g-tubes replaced by the trained nurse or a physician and comparisons on the outcomes were made. Patients were aware of the study and consented to have their medical records accessed to make the data comparisons. Relevance to Clinical Practice With more than 189,000 children in the United States relying on g-tubes, nursing staff will inevitably be involved in the care of patients with such a device. In addition, as pediatric EDs continue to develop longer and longer waiting times, we must learn how to better use our nursing staff for procedures within their scope and minimize LOS. Our research demonstrates the safety, feasibility, and general benefits of having the pediatric nursing staff replace g-tubes in the ED, and it is hoped that this will lead to beneficial policy changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-431
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication [or project] was supported by Grant Number 1UL1RR033183 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and by Grant Number 8 UL1 TR000114-02 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health to the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CTSI or the National Institutes of Health. The University of Minnesota CTSI is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) consortium created to accelerate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients.

Publisher Copyright:
© Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • gastrostomy tube replacement
  • nursing guidelines
  • nursing procedure

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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