Nasogastric Tube – Part 1
Anyone who has ever had one of these put in will never forget the experience. Nasogastric tubes (NGT) are large plastic tubes threaded through one of the nostrils into the pharynx, down the esophagus and into the stomach. They are placed to decompress the stomach by draining fluid or air from it or to provide a route to
give liquid feedings to surgical patients who can not eat.
It is generally uncomfortable for the patient if they are awake when they are placed. Most people have a fairly strong gag reflex when something is passed down their pharynx. One trick to make insertion easier is for the patient to put their chin on their chest and to take small sips of water through a straw when the tube is being inserted. This serves two purposes. First, the tube has a natural tendency to “follow the water” into the stomach and the likelihood of the NGT being placed into the lungs is less. Second, having the patient concentrate on taking many small sips momentarily distracts them from what is happening with the tube.
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