Author(s): Kawati R, Rubertsson S, Kawati R, Rubertsson S
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Abstract Feeding tubes are used frequently in the intensive care unit to provide enteral nutrition. For critically ill patients, enteral nutrition is preferable to parenteral in terms of cost, complication and gut mucosal maintenance. Fine bore feeding tubes are always preferred because their soft, flexible construction and narrow diameter enables these tubes to be well tolerated by patients and they rarely contribute to sinus infections or obstruction of breathing. On the other hand it is not uncommon that these tubes are misplaced in the tracheobronchial tree or the pleural cavity, especially in high-risk patients, i.e. sedated patients, patients with weak cough reflex, endotracheally intubated patients and agitated patients. Malpositioning in the peritoneal cavity or the mediastinum through gastric or esophageal perforation is also possible; even intravascular and intracranial misplacement have been reported. The incidence of misplacement of a feeding tube is difficult to estimate because few studies have been performed. The largest study of 1100 such tubes revealed an overall malposition rate of 1.3\%, but it should be mentioned that this study included only radiographically detected misplacements. Other researchers estimate the occurrence of accidental misplacement and migration out of position as high as 13\% to 20\% in high-risk patients.
This article was published in Acta Anaesthesiol Scand
and referenced in Maternal and Pediatric Nutrition