Inserting a Nasogastric Tube (NGT)


There are two main indications for nasogastric tube insertion via the nostril and into the client’s stomach.

  • Enteral feeding
  • Drainage of gastric content

These are two very different clinical indicators for the insertion of a nasogastric tube; therefore, the indication for the nasogastric tube will guide the care of the tube.

Enteral feeding is a method of supplying nutrients directly into the gastrointestinal tract. A wide range of clients may require enteral feeding either for a short or extended period of time for a variety of reasons including:

  • poor nutritional intake
  • impaired swallowing/sucking across the life span from neonates to geriatrics
  • facial or oesophageal structural abnormalities
  • anorexia related to a chronic illness
  • eating disorders
  • primary disease management.

Enteral feeding tubes may also be used to administer medications.

Insertion of a nasogastric tube for drainage may also occur:

  • to facilitate drainage and aspiration of the stomach contents
  • for decompression of the stomach
  • to diagnose upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding.

It is vital that correct placement of the nasogastric tube is confirmed by

  • aspirating stomach content and assessing pH
  • X-ray to confirm the tube is placed in the stomach and not in the respiratory tract.
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