To describe the characteristics and outcomes of children discharged from the hospital with new nasoenteral tube (NET) use after acute hospitalization.


Retrospective cohort study using multistate Medicaid data of children <18 years old with a claim for tube feeding supplies within 30 days after discharge from a nonbirth hospitalization between 2016 and 2019. Children with a gastrostomy tube (GT) or requiring home NET use in the 90 days before admission were excluded. Outcomes included patient characteristics and associated diagnoses, 30-day emergency department (ED-only) return visits and readmissions, and subsequent GT placement.


We identified 1815 index hospitalizations; 77.8% were patients ≤5 years of age and 81.7% had a complex chronic condition. The most common primary diagnoses associated with index hospitalization were failure to thrive (11%), malnutrition (6.8%), and acute bronchiolitis (5.9%). Thirty-day revisits were common (49%), with 26.4% experiencing an ED-only return and 30.9% hospital readmission. Revisits with a primary diagnosis code for tube displacement/dysfunction (10.7%) or pneumonia/pneumonitis (0.3%) occurred less frequently. A minority (16.9%) of patients progressed to GT placement within 6 months, 22.3% by 1 year.


Children with a variety of acute and chronic conditions are discharged from the hospital with NET feeding. All-cause 30-day revisits are common, though revisits coded for specific tube-related complications occurred less frequently. A majority of patients do not progress to GT within a year. Home NET feeding may be useful for facilitating discharge among patients unable to meet their oral nutrition goals but should be weighed against the high revisit rate.

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