how to remove ng tube

nasogastric (NG) tube is a flexible plastic tube inserted through the nostrils, down the nasopharynx, and into the stomach or the upper portion of the small intestine. Placement of NG tubes is always confirmed with an X-ray prior to use (Perry, Potter, & Ostendorf, 2014).

NG tubes are used to:

  • Deliver nutrients to the patient via a feeding pump
  • Remove gastric contents

An NG tube used for feeding should be labelled. The tube is used to feed patients who may have swallowing difficulties or require additional nutritional supplements. These tubes are narrower and smaller bored than a Salem sump or Levine tube.

An NG tube can also remove gastric content, either draining the stomach by gravity or by being connected to a suction pump. In these situations, the NG tube is used to prevent nausea, vomiting, or gastric distension, or to wash the stomach of toxins.

The NG tube is fastened to the patient using a nose clip, and is taped and pinned to the patient’s gown to prevent accidental removal of the tube and to prevent the tube from slipping from the stomach area into the lungs.

When working with people who have nasogastric tubes, remember the following care measures:

  • Maintain and promote comfort. The tube constantly irritates the nasal mucosa, causing a great deal of discomfort. Ensure that the tube is securely anchored to the patient’s nose to prevent excess tube movement, and is pinned to the gown to avoid excessive pulling or dragging.
  • Because one nostril is blocked, patients tend to mouth breathe. This causes dehydration of the nasal and oral mucosa, and patients will complain of thirst, but they are usually NPO (nil per os or nothing by mouth). Mouth care will help to relieve the dryness. This can include rinsing the mouth with cold water or mouthwash as long as the patient does not swallow. Some patients may be allowed to suck on ice chips.
  • If the patient complains of abdominal pain, discomfort, or nausea, or begins to vomit, report it immediately. The drainage flow is probably obstructed and the tube will need to be irrigated.
  • These patients should never be allowed to lie completely flat. Lying flat increases the patient’s risk of aspirating stomach contents. Patients with an NG tube are at risk for aspiration. The head of bed should always be raised 30 degrees or higher.

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