Graduated container for measuring.
Prescribed lavage solution (usually, normal saline solution).
Suction equipment readily available.
c. Preparation. Prior to beginning the procedure, check to be certain that you
have prepared everything you will need.
(1) In most gastric lavage procedures, the physician's order will be to lavage
"until clear." This means that the lavage procedure will be repeated until the stomach
contents that are returned are clear, that is, nothing returned except the irrigating
solution itself. This requires that you be prepared with at least 6 liters of solution. You
may not need to use it all, but you should have it available at the bedside.
(2) If the lavage procedure is being done to control gastrointestinal bleeding,
the order will probably be "ice lavage." Chilling the solution with ice will promote
constriction of the blood vessels, thereby helping to control bleeding. Again, you will
need to have quite a bit of iced solution on hand and ready for use.
(3) Position of the patient for lavage will depend upon the patient's tolerance
and the physician's preference. Lavage may be done with the patient sitting or lying.
Placing the patient on his left side with the HOB elevated 15 degrees will allow the tip of
the tube to lie in the greater curvature of the stomach.
d. Lavage Technique. There are two basic techniques used in performing
gastric lavage. The technique used depends upon the reason for the procedure and the
physician's preference. Check the doctor's orders to see which method is specified. If
the physician does not specify the technique, consult with the professional nurse. The
two techniques used are as follow.
(1) Solution is instilled and aspirated 50cc at a time, using a catheter tip
syringe. The procedure is repeated until the stomach contents return clear, the entire
amount of prescribed solution has been used, or otherwise directed.
(2) Solution is slowly poured into the tube through a funnel, allowing the
solution to enter the stomach by gravity. Up to 500cc of solution may be instilled at a
time, depending upon the size and tolerance of the patient. The tube is then lowered