Pain and discomfort in children with gastrostomy tubes – In the context of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Journal article, 2023

Background: In children with malignant and severe non-malignant disorders undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), treatment related pain and discomfort are common. Food consumption may become troublesome, making the use of a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) necessary and resulting in complications, why the purpose was to explore pain and discomfort during the transplantation and post-transplantation time. Methods: This was a mixed methods study where data were collected along the child's total health-care process between 2018 and 2021. Questions with fixed answer options were used, simultaneously, semi-structured interviews were performed. In total, sixteen families participated. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to describe analysed data. Findings: Intense pain was common during the post-surgery phase, especially in conjunction with G-tube care, which is why the children needed support to manage the situation. After the post-surgery phase when the skin has healed, most of the children experienced minor to no pain or bodily discomfort, why the G-tube became a well-functioning and supportive tool in daily life. Conclusions: This study describes variations in and experiences of pain and bodily discomfort in conjunction with G-tube insertion in a unique sample of children who had undergone HSCT. In conclusion, the children's comfort in daily life after the post-surgery phase seemed to be only marginally affected by G-tube insertion. Children with severe non-malignant disorders seemed to experience a higher frequency and intensity of pain and bodily discomfort due to the G-tube than children with malignant disorders. Practice implications: The paediatric care team need competence in assessing G-tube related pain and awareness that experiences may differ depending on the child's disorder.




Stem cell transplantation



Ulrika Mårtensson

University of Gothenburg

Stefan Nilsson

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

University of Gothenburg

Margaretha Jenholt Nolbris

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

University of Gothenburg

Helle Wijk

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Design

Karin Mellgren

University of Gothenburg

Journal of Pediatric Nursing

0882-5963 (ISSN) 1532-8449 (eISSN)

Vol. 70 79-89

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Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified




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