Section I. PRELIMINARY STEPS
According to the latest statistics, gastrointestinal disorders are the most common
ailments treated at medical facilities. To deal with this type of disorder, it is sometimes
necessary to insert a tube into the patient's stomach or intestine. The term
gastrointestinal intubation means that a specified tube is inserted through the patient's
nose or throat into his stomach or intestine. Gastrointestinal intubation is a fairly
common procedure. The reasons for its use are as follows:
a. To drain the stomach or intestinal tract by means of some kind of suction
apparatus. Gastrointestinal intubation is used to prevent postoperative vomiting, to
prevent postoperative obstruction of the intestinal tract, and to prevent the stomach or
intestine from being stretched by fluid or gas.
b. For diagnosis, to identify a disease or the cause of a pathological condition.
c. To wash out the stomach contents; for example, after taking poison.
d. To provide a route for feeding a person who is unable to take food by mouth.
INDICATIONS/CONTRAINDICATIONS TO USE NASOGASTRIC INTUBATION
a. Indications to Use Nasogastric Intubation. Use nasogastric intubation--
passing the gastric tube through the nose and into the stomach and intestines--when
the following conditions exist:
(1) It is known or suspected that the patient has ingested poisonous or
caustic (something which can burn or destroy living tissue) substances.
There is a need to increase the patient's nutritional intake.
(3) The individual is a burn patient with more than 30 percent total body
surface involved. In such a case, there is high incidence of duodenal stress ulcer and
also a high rate of paralytic ileus (obstruction of the intestines caused by paralysis of the
The patient's abdomen is distended (stretched).