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What Is a Corpak

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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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.

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.

Corpak Feeding Tube vs. Dobhoff

Corpak tubes are a popular option, but there are several other types of enteral feeding tubes, including the Dobhoff model. Dobhoff feeding tubes are characterized by their flexibility, narrow-bore structure, and thin diameter. There are a few other notable differences between the Dobhoff and Corpak feeding tubes, including their method of placement and their most common applications.

Corpak and Dobhoff feedings tubes are both considered small bore tubes, which means that they are designed for placement in the small bowel or stomach. The methods used to achieve this placement typically differ, though. A Corpak feeding tube is often inserted by using the CORTRAK Enteral Access System. This method uses electromagnetic sensors to accurately position the feeding tube within the patient. A Dobhoff feeding tube, conversely, is inserted with a wire stylet and positioned with a small weight.

These differences have a considerable effect on the patient’s experience. Many report that a Dobhoff feeding tube is more comfortable than a Corpak. It should be noted, too, that a Dobhoff tube is often intended for placement by mouth, unlike a Corpak, which can be inserted as an oral or nasogastric (NG) tube.

Corpak Placement

Placing a Corpak feeding tube may be uncomfortable for a patient if they are awake during the procedure, but it may take as little as 30 to 45 minutes to complete. The process entails several steps, the first of which is choosing the correct length. The healthcare provider should measure the patient’s stoma tract to ensure that the best size is selected. The provider should then determine whether an oral or nasogastric placement is ideal.

If the Corpak feeding tube is placed orally, it will be inserted into the mouth and directed down towards the patient’s stomach. It is important that the practitioner inserting the tube stop immediately if any resistance occurs. If this happens, the tube should be adjusted slightly before proceeding. When the full length of the tube is inserted, it should be secured and assessed to ensure correct placement.

For Corpak feeding tubes that are placed nasally, the aforementioned CORTRAK Enteral Access System will likely be used. This is Corpak’s proprietary system for confirming correct tube placement without the need for X-rays. The system includes an electromagnetic stylet that’s used by a healthcare provider to locate and position the tip of the feeding tube. This allows the practitioner to take advantage of onscreen guidance to ensure accuracy.

Corpak vs. NG

Some people differentiate between Corpak and nasogastric (NG) feeding tubes while others use the words interchangeably. These phrases don’t necessarily refer to different kinds of feeding tubes, though — nor are they the same thing. In fact, many Corpak feeding tubes are also NG feeding tubes — but not all NG tubes are Corpak tubes. The word “Corpak” simply refers to the company that manufactures certain feeding tubes, and the word “NG” indicates that the tube in question is designed for nasogastric placement. These words are thus neither mutually exclusive nor synonymous.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

By anon330822 — On Apr 18, 2013

@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.

By SkittisH — On Jul 01, 2011

@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!

By TheGraham — On Jul 01, 2011

@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!

By Malka — On Jun 30, 2011

@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.

By aishia — On Jun 29, 2011

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?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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