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the introduction into the human body of nutrient substances by means of tubes, through fistulas, or parenterally (intravenously, subcutaneously). Artificial feeding is resorted to when natural feeding is impossible (unconsciousness, severe difficulty in swallowing with paralysis of the deglutitory muscles, stricture of the esophagus, mental illness with refusal of food) and also to provide water-electrolyte homeostasis.
Artificial feeding through a thin gastric tube, inserted through the nose and nasopharynx into the stomach, is effected with liquid food that contains no coarse particles (such as milk, cream, raw eggs, strong bouillon, and fruit juices). When there is artificial feeding through fistulas—surgically created openings in the stomach wall (or the small intestine)—meat, fish, and bread, for example, are introduced. (Usually when there is obstruction of the esophagus a fistula of the stomach is used, and with obstruction of the pylorus, a fistula of the small intestine.) In parenteral feeding, water-salt solutions and solutions of glucose, vitamins, and some other preparations are introduced sub-cutaneously or intravenously; mixtures of pure amino acids, glucose, and the like are given intravenously. Transfusion of blood, packed erythrocytes, plasma, or blood serum is also of nutritive value. The previously used method of introducing nutritive matter in enemas is no longer considered rational. Artificial feeding is often used as a supplementary method of feeding when there is dehydration of the body as a result of persistent vomiting and diarrhea, with hemorrhages, intoxications, and so on.