Stomach Tube Insertion
Alternate Names : Nasogastric Tube Insertion, NG Tube Insertion
Stomach tube insertion is the placement of a small plastic tube through the nose into the stomach. This tube is used to drain the contents of the stomach. It also may be used for feeding a person who is unable to eat normally.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
A person may need a stomach tube inserted to:
empty the stomach after a drug overdose or accidental poisoning
drain the stomach after major trauma, so the person can't inhale stomach contents into the lungs
treat malnutrition by giving feedings through the tube. Tube feeding is also used when a person is unable to eat normally, such as after a stroke
keep the stomach relaxed after major surgery to the abdomen, such as an abdominal exploration
prevent distension of the stomach when the person has a bowel obstruction
How is the procedure performed?
The person may be awake or unconscious when the stomach tube is inserted. The awake person may experience some discomfort such as watering eyes, nasal pressure, and gagging during the initial stage of passing the tube. It is important for the healthcare provider to know if the person has had previous nasal surgery or trauma.
Before the stomach tube is inserted, the healthcare provider will measure how far to insert it. The provider will hold one end of the tube at the ear, and measure to the tip of the nose and down to the middle of the chest. The lower end of the tube is then marked with a piece of tape.
The tube is then lubricated to make it slide easily. The person sits up straight and the tube is inserted into one of the nostrils. Once the tip of the tube arrives at the back of the throat, it will stop. The person then swallows sips of water to help the tube move down into the stomach. The tube is stopped when it reaches the tape mark. The healthcare provider can tell if the tube is placed correctly by gently suctioning out some of the stomach contents. The provider may also inject air into the tube and listen to the stomach with a stethoscope.