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Nasogastric Intubation

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Nasogastric intubation is a procedure to insert a nasogastric (NG) tube into your nose down into your stomach. An NG tube is a long, thin, bendable plastic or rubber tube with holes at both ends. Depending on the type of NG tube, it may help remove air or excess fluids out of the stomach. It may also be used as a way to bring food to your stomach. Medicines and other substances, such as activated charcoal or dye, may also be given through an NG tube. Use of this tube should only be temporary (short time).
  • You may need an NG tube if your stomach gets too full or if you throw up a lot after surgery. An NG tube may also be useful in food poisoning or drug overdose. Sometimes, an NG tube is placed to get samples of fluid from the stomach for testing. This is done particularly if caregivers want to check for bleeding.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ask your caregiver when you need to return to have the NG tube taken out.

Mouth care:

Having an NG tube may make you more likely to breathe through your mouth. This may cause drying of the mouth and lead to mouth and nose infections. This may be prevented by practicing regular mouth care. Rinsing your mouth at least every two hours may help you feel more comfortable. Ask your caregiver for more information on doing mouth care.

NG tube care:

  • Position: Always keep the end of your NG tube above the level of your stomach. This will help prevent fluid drained from the stomach from going back. Keep the tube in the area of the nostril taped to the nose. Make sure that the hanging part of the tube is pinned on your clothes. This will decrease the stress produced by the weight of the rest of the NG tube.
  • Tapes: The tapes used to keep the NG tube in place may need to be changed regularly. This may be done every day. The tape also needs to be changed if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Tube blockage: If your NG tube gets blocked, fluid or air may be hard to put inside. If this happens, call your caregiver right away. Follow your caregiver's instructions closely for flushing your NG tube to keep it from getting blocked.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • The fluid coming out of the NG tube suddenly increases or decreases in amount.
  • You have a hard time getting medicines or fluid into the NG tube, or they have started going in much slower.
  • You have redness, swelling, warmness, draining, or bleeding on the areas touching the NG tube.
  • You feel too full or bloated.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure, condition, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • The fluid coming out of the NG tube has blood or looks like coffee grounds.
  • You are urinating less or not at all.
  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • Your abdomen (stomach) becomes tender and hard.
  • Your bowel movements are black or have bright red or dark blood in them.
  • Your vomit (throw up) has blood or bile in it.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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