Malpositioning of a nasogastric tube: a pitfall in the emergency department
© Springer-Verlag London Ltd 2008
Received: 15 April 2008
Accepted: 12 May 2008
Published: 17 June 2008
Placement of a nasogastric tube is indicated to decompress the stomach by aspiration of gastric contents, to introduce fluids and to assist in the clinical diagnosis of the ingested contents or gastric contents. Accidental misplacement of a nasogastric tube can occur in high-risk patients such as sedated patients, patients with weak cough reflex, endotracheally intubated patients and agitated patients . Various methods to verify nasogastric tube placement in the stomach include the use of chest X-ray, aspiration of gastric content with the irrigating syringe, audible sounds of air entering the stomach while a 30 cc air bolus is injected with the syringe, and able to talk without coughing, choking or cyanosis. It is important to verify nasogastric tube placement in the stomach because the result of misplacement can be fatal such as aspiration pneumonitis or aspiration pneumonia.