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Control Methods for Placement of Nasogastric Feeding Tubes

Nasogastric tubes are commonly used in hospitals and nursing homes. Healthcare personnel often ask themselves: "Is the tube correctly placed?". The Norwegian Healthcare Investigation Board (Ukom) has examined healthcare practices for checking the correct placement of nasogastric feeding tubes in the stomach. 

Internationally, pH testing of gastric aspirate is the recommended method for checking the placement of the tube. This report reveals that the auscultation method is still in use to check tubes in Norway. It also shows that not everyone checks the placement of the tube regularly before each use. Before each use means every time the tube is used to administer medication, liquids, or nutrition. 

Our investigations show that pH testing is underutilized. In nursing education, pH measurement as a control method is used in teaching. Not all providers of nasogastric tubes recommend pH measurement in their instructions for use. 

In the report, Ukom recommends that healthcare personnel use recognized methods, such as pH measurement, to check tube placement. The auscultation method should not be used. The tube should be checked before each use. It is important that the pH test used is suitable for human gastric aspirate. 

The report also provides recommendations to suppliers, Hospital Procurement HF, and other public procurers. 

The translation from Norwegian to English is based in AI. Ukom has reviewed, edited and quality assured the translation.