Nasogastric Tubes (NG Tube)

What is a Nasogastric Tube(NG tube)?

The insertion of a NasogastricTube(NG Tube), also known as Gastric intubation, via the nasal passage (ie, nasogastric route) is a common procedure in Intensive Care that provides access to the stomach for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. A flexible nasogastric (NG) tube is used for the procedure. In few cases, the tube is inserted through aPatient’s mouth into the stomach(orogastric tube)The placement of an NG tube can be uncomfortable for the Patient if the Patient is not adequately prepared with local anesthesia to the nasal passages and if the Patient has ot been given specific instructions on how to cooperate with the operator during the procedure.

What is it used for and how does it work?

A nasogastric tube is used for feeding and administering drugs and other oral agents such as activated charcoal. For drugs and for minimal quantities of liquid, a syringe is used for injection into the tube. For continuous feeding the tube is often connected to an electronic pump which can control and measure the Patient’s intake and signal any interruption in the feeding.

Nasogastric aspiration (suction) is the process of draining the stomach’s contents via the tube. Nasogastric aspiration is mainly used to remove gastric secretions and swallowed air in patients with gastrointestinal obstructions. Nasogastric aspiration can also be used in poisoning situations when a potentially toxic liquid has been ingested, for preparation before surgery under anaesthesia, and to extract samples of gastric liquid for analysis.

If the tube is to be used for continuous drainage, it is usually attached to a collector bag placed below the level of the Patient’s stomach; gravity empties the stomach’s contents. It can also be appended to a suction system, however this method is often restricted to emergency situations, as the constant suction can easily damage the stomach’s lining. In non-emergent situations, intermittent suction may be applied giving the benefits of suction without the untoward effects of damage to the stomach lining.

Suction drainage is used for Patients who have undergone a pneumonectomy(removal of a lung) in order to prevent anesthesia-related vomiting and possible aspiration of any stomach contents. Such aspiration would represent a serious risk of complications to Patients recovering from this surgery.

The NG Tube is secured in place by tape. An NG tube is necessary until the gastrointestinal tract is functioning normally or until your loved one is capable of swallowing.


Insertion of a Nasogastric tube

Any questions?

All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for your loved one.

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.

The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual Patient variation. It is meant as a back up to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one. INTENSIVE CARE HOTLINE attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual Patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.

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