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Step-by-Step Farrell Valve Bag Instructions

Your child needs nutrition and good calories through his or her enteral feedings—not excess air bubbles. A key part of a feeding system is a Farrell Valve bag, which removes excess bubbles for more reliable feedings. Your child has less bloating and is more comfortable during and after feedings.

Learn more in the videos below about how to set up, use, clean, and store a Farrell Valve bag:

Of course if you have any questions about any aspect of your child’s feeding system, contact your PHS clinician.

Do you use a Farrell Valve bag in your system? Any tips to share? We welcome your input.

Originally published: May 20, 2011
Showing 38 comments
  • Huguette Figueroa
    Reply to Huguette FigueroaComment ID#: 359

    My son is now 2 years old and has been on the Farrell bag for the past 6 months. Immediately after the first trial- he stopped gagging, coughing and throwing up.
    It’s wonderful, I wonder why a lot of medical facilities do not know or do not recommend these?!!
    My son was pretty much losing weight because prior to the farrell bag, his feeds would have to stop because of all his vomiting. Montefiore hospital never suggested it. My son was in that hospital for his first full year. Afterwards, Blythesdale, another hospital in Ossining, NY, did not suggest it either.
    Currently, my son is in Sunshine, ( rehab/nursing/medical facility) and they suggested it, thank goodness… Best thing that’s happened to him!

  • Tim B.
    Reply to Tim B.Comment ID#: 1067

    After using a Farrell bag once, can it be re-used within 24 hours? How do you clean a Farrell bag in between uses? (While the copy above says the videos discuss cleaning, there want any “how to clean the Farrell bag itself” content in the third – stomach feed – video.)

  • Steve W.
    Reply to Steve W.Comment ID#: 2035

    Can a Farrel bag be used during a continuous feed?

  • Chryssy Tsolakidis
    Reply to Chryssy TsolakidisComment ID#: 2571

    In these videos they unclamp the white clamp immediately. If I do that it creates air in the extension and gets pushed into my sons stomach. I wait 30 minutes and then unclamp (unroll) the white clamp. We are only on our second night. The ferrell bag doesn’t seem to be doing anything or helping. The ferrell bag extension also fills 3/4 way with formula. Is it still venting if there is formula in the extension (cord) of farrell bag? How can you tell if the bag is venting air?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 2590

      Hi Chryssy,

      The Farrell Valve Bag should still be venting the air even when there are contents in the extension, tubing and bag. The only reason the Farrell Valve Bag would not be venting is if the filter at the top of the bag gets wet or blocked for some reason. There isn’t a great way to tell that the air/gas is being vented when the Farrell Valve Bag is working in typical cases. If there is an excessive amount of air/gas the bag may inflate but then it should go back down once that air/gas has made its way out of the filter. However, if the filter gets wet or is blocked, the air/gas will remain trapped in the bag and it will inflate and stay that way as the air/gas has nowhere to exit.

      We do have a step by step written education booklet that we would be happy to email or mail to you – if that would be helpful, please email me at kkgraf@pediatrichomeservice.com!

  • Nisha McClain
    Reply to Nisha McClainComment ID#: 6872

    Do you have to use s new bag with each feeding or is one bag good for 24 hours?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 6961

      Thanks for your question, Nisha! A Farrell Valve Bag can be used for a full 24 hours. Unlike feeding bags, Farrell Valve Bags cannot be washed out and reused. This is the reason we recommend throwing a Farrell Valve Bag out after 24 hours.

  • Christopher Woods
    Reply to Christopher WoodsComment ID#: 7345

    After venting and contents(food)is in bag how long do I have to let contents run back in baby?

    • Kelsey Halena
      Reply to Kelsey HalenaComment ID#: 7350

      Hi Christopher,

      Thanks for your question – our dietitian supervisor does not know of any time limit for refeeding stomach contents, but the Farrell Valve Bag itself should only be used up to 24 hours. Outside of that recommendation we advise you to check in with your provider with guidance regarding refeeding vented stomach contents.

  • Stephanie
    Reply to StephanieComment ID#: 7480

    If feeds take about 45 minutes, and we cannot start using the bag until 30 minutes have passed- it only allows for 15 minutes of venting per feed. Is there a way around this?

    • Kelsey Halena
      Reply to Kelsey HalenaComment ID#: 7527

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for your question. These are manufacturer recommendations that are provided in order to get best results when using a Farrell Valve Bag while feeding. Our dietitian supervisor adds that you can also continue to vent after the feeding is over so there is more time if that works with your child’s feeding and daily schedule.

  • Rebecca
    Reply to RebeccaComment ID#: 8214

    I am going to be bolus feeding my daughter with the farrel bag and I’m wondering how that works. If there is formula in the tubing of the bag between feedings can I still unhook her from everything? Should I keep her on it constantly? She’s going to be fed every 3 hours so I would like to give her a break from being attached to the feed but I’m worried the contents may not have drained back into her stomach.

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 8279

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your question – there will likely be a period of time that the feeding set/Farrell Valve Bag system will have to remain connected following each feeding. The specific length of time will vary depending on the child, so we would encourage you to check in with your provider on specifics regarding this schedule to make sure your child’s specific needs are being met. Thanks!

  • Krystal Ziolkowski
    Reply to Krystal ZiolkowskiComment ID#: 10098

    Does the Farrell bag work to collect drainage?? My patient has a GJ tube.

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 10191

      Hi Krystal,

      Thanks for your question! The Farrell Valve Bag is intended to be used to vent air from the stomach and allow for any output to drain back into the stomach. Although there are some families that utilize the Farrell Valve Bag as a drainage bag, that is not manufacturer’s instruction for use. There are enteral drainage bags on the market that are much easier to use for this purpose.

  • Ariana Perry
    Reply to Ariana PerryComment ID#: 13446

    I know the y connector has to be at or below her stomach. If it is secured onto her, so directly above her tummy, will it work? It’s more on her tummy than above it.

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 13471

      Hi Ariana,

      This should not be an issue as the y-port can be at the level of the stomach and still function properly. Be sure to have the Farrell Valve Bag hanging higher than your child’s stomach in order to vent properly. Thanks!

  • Kennon
    Reply to KennonComment ID#: 16161

    We started using the bags about a week ago to vent my sons stomach. He makes it about five hours and then the night is basically over due to the amount of air in his stomach. We spend the rest of the night venting and then hooking him back up to the feeds/Farrell bag. Any suggestions?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 16190

      Hi Kennon,

      If you aren’t doing this already, you could run feedings while also venting with the Farrell Valve Bag at the same time. There are step by step instructions that show how to do this in our education if you have any questions. If you are already using this method and there is still an excessive amount of gas building up in your son’s stomach, I would suggest asking his provider about slowing down his feeding rate to see if that helps. If the Farrell Valve Bag is hung vertically at the same level as the food pump, the gas should be expelled out of the filter on the top. Overall, I would definitely review the excess gas issue with his provider to make sure there aren’t other factors also contributing.

      Hope this helps!

  • Danielle Young
    Reply to Danielle YoungComment ID#: 24191

    My daughter was discharged from the NICU on the Farrell bag continuously even though she is on bolus feeds over an hour. Can it be used to just vent during feeds and unhook her in between, or would it be better to use the bag to vent her after feeds and then disconnect ?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 41491

      Hi Danielle,

      You may be able to disconnect the Farrell Valve Bag for periods of time in between feedings. Often the plan is to slowly decrease the amount of time and frequency of manual venting so the body can start learning to pass gas on its own. Please discuss the venting plan with your child’s provider to make sure they are ok with decreasing the time and frequency.

  • Susana
    Reply to SusanaComment ID#: 49755

    Can I use the Farrell bag on my 8 month baby? are there any contraindications for the use?

    Thank you

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 49890

      Hi Susana, There would be no concerns in using a Farrell Valve Bag with an 8-month old. It is an item that would need to be ordered by your physician. The Farrel Valve Bag should only be used with a G-tube or G-port of a GJ-tube. The bag and clamps have to be positioned correctly in order for it to function, which may be difficult for active patients. But that should not be a problem with a baby. Thanks for asking!

  • Monica Quintana
    Reply to Monica QuintanaComment ID#: 52454

    After carefully reading instructions for ferral bag usage for decompressing, it states to manually decompress with a 50-60 unit syringe. My question is, how much should i manually decompress and when do i know if its enough to apply ferral bag?? Son has a gj

  • Starr King
    Reply to Starr KingComment ID#: 70763

    Theses worked phenomenally for about three weeks but now it’s no longer working.I can see the air bubbles in the tubing but they aren’t rising into Farrell bag and being expelled instead they are being pushed back into his stomach.

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 70973

      Hi Starr, thank you for reaching out with your question. Below are some suggestions from one of our Clinical Nutrition Managers:
      1. Make sure to confirm proper positioning of the Farrell Valve Bag in relation to the child before each use.
      2. Check the filter at the top of the Farrell Valve Bag to make sure it didn’t get wet or damaged in any other way.
      3. Do a quick check… Are all the proper clamps open on the Farrell Valve Bag line?
      4. Make sure to throw out the old and replace with a new Farrell Valve Bag every 24 hours.
      5. If none of these suggestions resolve the issue, contact the medical supply provider to let them know you make have a bad batch of bags.
      We hope this helps!

  • Peggy Halsey
    Reply to Peggy HalseyComment ID#: 73552

    The student I care for at school has just started using a Farrell Valve bag because of a severe problem of leakage from his g-tube/stoma. The difference was amazing for the first few days. Now, we are back to the same old problems. My student is fed by mouth and by feeding pump. I connected the Farrell Valve bag as the video instructed for not feeding, as I feed him by mouth in the morning. Later in the day, I put him on the pump. Can I use the same Farrell Valve bag? Can I simply prime it and continue to use it now with the pump? What should I do at the end of the day when it is time for the student to be transported home? Can I keep it all connected, or should I disconnect everything?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 73595

      Hello, Peggy. Thanks for your question. Our dietitian team has responded with the following:

      You can use the same Farrell Valve Bag when you hook him up to pump feedings from oral feedings. One Farrell Valve Bag can be used for up to 24 hours. You would just follow the steps for set-up and use during tube feedings (specific steps depend on the specific feeding tube being used).
      If you can keep the proper setup and placement of the Farrell Valve Bag during transportation you can absolutely leave it connected. If placement is not correct, it will not function as it should, but this could be corrected as soon as he returns home. Just make sure the filter at the top of the Farrell Valve Bag doesn’t get wet during this time. If this happens the bag will not function as it should any longer and will have to be replaced.

      We hope this is helpful!

  • Angela
    Reply to AngelaComment ID#: 75410

    My son has used a Farrell bag with big success for the past 18 months. He is nil by mouth and uses a ventilator to breathe. The bag has helped vent excess air from his stomach caused by swallowing air from his ventilator. In the past few weeks the Farrell bag has got locked so tight ( 6 times so far)onto his PEG at the connection screw that it can’t be removed without surgical pliers. Why is this happening. We have had the pEG changed but it has continued to happen on the new PEG. Obviously we use new Farrell bags every 24 hours. Please explain why this is happening. We are mystfied

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 75438

      Hi Angela, the PHS Dietitians and Clinical Specialists have been talking through your situation and, unfortunately, this is very odd and not something we’ve heard of before. But we do jhave some suggestions/question to think through for you:

      1. Is the same person hooking up the Farrell Valve Bag system to the PEG tube as before? Could it be getting over-tightened when initially connected and set up each day?
      2. Has there been any new formula changes (additions to the regimen, etc), or are there any new meds being given via the tube? New additives could potentially be making the connection extra sticky.

      If this continues to happen with ruling out all of the above, it is likely worth trying a whole new case of Farrell Valve Bags in case you received a bad lot.

      Hope this is helpful.

  • Maddison
    Reply to MaddisonComment ID#: 88613

    How do you return stomach contents back into child’s stomach? The Ferrell bag is not doing it on it own with gravity.

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 88637

      Hi Maddison,

      Thank you for your question! Please review all the steps to make sure the Farrell Valve Bag is setup correctly, to include opening/closing the proper clamps on tubing specific to your child’s feeding and venting regime. If the gastric contents continue to remain in the bag (not draining back into your child’s stomach) discard the bag and try a new one. If this continues to occur, please contact your child’s provider to discuss other options for venting and refeeding of gastric contents (ex. using an enteral drainage bag).

  • Dymond Hunley
    Reply to Dymond HunleyComment ID#: 89382

    Can a continuous feeding pump be hooked up with farrel bag ?v

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 90384

      Hello Dymond. Yes, the Farrell Valve Bag venting system can be used while continuously feeding into the stomach or the small intestine. Please reference our video for a thorough step-by-step instruction that meets specific care plan needs. Have a great day!

  • kaleigh
    Reply to kaleighComment ID#: 90282

    can the farrell bag be used with a 5fr NG?

    • Pediatric Home Service
      Reply to Pediatric Home ServiceComment ID#: 90603

      Hi Kaleigh, the Farrell Valve bag can be used with any French size tube! The Farrell Valve bag connects to either a Corpak or ENFit connection. If you don’t know if the NG is Corpak or ENFit, please contact your provider. Have a great day!

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