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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2018 Jan;42(1):247-254. doi: 10.1002/jpen.1015. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Feeding Tube Insertion and Placement Confirmation Using Electromagnetic Guidance: A Team Review.

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UF Health Shands Hospital, Gainesville, Florida, USA.



Challenges for bedside placement of small-bore feeding tube (SBFT) include iatrogenic injury, multiple exposures to x-rays, and prolonged placement times. In 2011, the study facility began a feeding tube placement team (FTPT) using the CORTRAK system (CS) in the adult intensive care unit (ICU) and medical-surgical populations. In 2013, a protocol was implemented using the CS to determine final SBFT location.


Serial retrospective reviews were done of patients with SBFT placement by the FTPT during July 2011-December 2012 and 2015. Measures included pulmonary deviation, tube location, placement agreement beyond chance for CS tracing and confirmation radiography (CR), x-ray frequency, and placement time intervals.


A total of 6290 SBFT placements were completed for 4239 patients. First-attempt SBFT locations were 12.78% gastric, 13.39% first through fourth portion of duodenum, and 73.83% ligament of Treitz/jejunum, with zero placements in esophagus or lung. In 2015, staff avoided 68 lung placements by recognizing proximal pulmonary deviation. X-ray preprotocol vs protocol (mean [SD]: 1.02 [0.15] vs 0.26 [0.44]) resulted in 74% x-ray reduction and cost avoidance of $346,000. Time intervals (mean [SD]; N = 6290) were 14.90 (12.74) minutes for insertion, 46.04 (13.80) minutes for placement event, and 3.85 (2.23) hours for consult conclusion. Agreement for n = 1692 placements was 85.28%, with k score of 0.622 (95% confidence limit: 0.582, 0.661; P = .0005).


Team management of SBFT placement using the CS optimizes patient safety, standardizes practice, and decreases cost. Using the CS to determine final SBFT location is a safe alternative to CR.


CORTRAK; blind placement; electromagnetic guidance; nasoenteral tubes


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