Nasogastric Tubes

The NG tube is probably the most common device placed in the GI tract. Tubes range in size from 6 to 18 Fr (1 Fr = 0.333 mm). These devices are relatively easy to place blindly in an alert, cooperative patient. Obtunded patients or those without an active gag reflex may require endotracheal intubation prior to NG insertion. It is important to note that the presence of an endotracheal tube with an inflated balloon does not prevent passage of these tubes into the respiratory tract.

Major complications have been reported with the use of NG tubes (Table. , ..85-1). Improper placement is the principal cause of these complications, and different techniques have been proposed to help identify improper placement of nasogastric tubes ( Table.85.-2.).1, However, according to published research, none of the techniques have proven effective. The technique that is probably most commonly used, insufflation of air into the NG tube while listening over the stomach, has many reported failures.

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