Report of Fluid Drained From Stomach of Ariel Sharon Confusing
Although none of the authors of this site have any direct knowledge or care of Ariel Sharon, the latest news report of the procedure to “drain fluid from the stomach” is confusing. The stomach is a hollow sac that contains the beginning digestive fluids.
If the stomach is not emptying promptly (called delayed gastric emptying) it can be drained by
placing a tube through the nose or mouth directly into the stomach. This tube is called a nasogastric tube and is placed in a simple, short bedside procedure that any medical students often perform.
If if appears that the patient is critically ill and will have a prolonged period of stomach dysfunction or atony, a gastric tube and be placed. This is a tube that is usually placed by placing a scope down the esophagus into the stomach and shining a light through the stomach wall and through the skin so that a needle can be inserted through the skin and a wire can be passed. The wire is then grasped by the pincers on the endoscope and drawn out through the mouth and a tube is threaded back down into the stomach and brought out the skin.
If there is fluid free in the abdomen the gastric tube (called by its slang name G tube) can be inserted surgically. This requires a small incision in the abdominal wall, the surgeon reaching down with forceps and pulling the stomach up into the wound, cutting a hole in the stomach, and then sewing the tube into the stomach, making a stab wound in the skin and pulling the tube out through the skin.
What is very confusing about this report is that none of these procedures should take four hours. Inserting a nasogastric or NG tube takes seconds, doing the insertion of the tube with the needle (called a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube or PEG tube) takes 15 minutes, and doing the surgical incision takes usually no more than one hour.
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