Nasogastric intubation refers to the process of placing a soft plastic nasogastric (NG) tube through a patient's nostril, past the pharynx and down the esophagus into a patient's stomach.
Nasogastric tubes are inserted to deliver substances directly into the stomach, remove substances from the stomach or as a means of testing stomach function or contents.
The most common purpose for inserting a nasogastric tube is to deliver tube feedings to a patient when they are unable to eat. Patients who may need a NG tube for feedings include: premature babies, patients in a coma, patients who have had neck or facial surgery or patients on mechanical ventilation. Other substances that are delivered through a NG tube may include ice water to stop bleeding in the stomach or medications to neutralize swallowed poisons.
Another purpose for inserting a nasogastric tube is to remove substances from the stomach. A NG tube is used to empty the stomach when accidental poisoning or drug overdose has occurred. A NG tube is used to remove air that accumulates in the stomach during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It is used to remove stomach contents after major trauma or surgery to prevent aspiration of the stomach contents. Placing a NG helps prevent nausea and vomiting by removing stomach contents and preventing distention of the stomach when a patient has a bleeding ulcer, bowel obstruction or other gastrointestinal diseases.
A NG tube may be inserted to take samples of stomach contents for laboratory studies and to test for pressure or motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract.
Mary Elizabeth Martelli R.N., B.S., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,