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Dig Dis Sci. 1986 Jun;31(6):574-85.

Nasoenteric feeding tubes. Radiographic detection of complications.


Recent technical refinement of feeding tubes and formula infusion pumps has led to widespread clinical use of long-term nasoenteric alimentation. We evaluated 340 hospitalized adults after placement of flexible, small-bore feeding tubes. These debilitated or critically ill patients were intubated transnasally at their bedside without fluoroscopic guidance, but portable radiographs of the chest and abdomen were obtained routinely for tube localization before administering liquid nutrients. Various complications were detected in 26 cases (7.6%). Tube malposition into the airways (seven patients) or within the pharynx and esophagus (eight patients) was the most common problem; it occurred in 4.4% of all cases. Radiographic findings in 11 other patients included tube-induced perforation of the lung (one case), massive aspiration (three), malfunction of knotted tubes (three), and rupture of their mercury capsule within the gastrointestinal tract (four). Our observations indicate a need for careful radiographic localization of the feeding tubes at the time of insertion and their periodic monitoring throughout the course of nasoenteric alimentation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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