Does pH Testing Work on NG and OG Tubes?
When using a nasogastric (NG) or an orogastric (OG) feeding tube, one of the most important stages of the process is ensuring proper placement of the tube. While there are multiple methods to achieve this goal, some prove to be far more advantageous than others.
In this article, we’ll provide an answer to whether or not you can use pH tests for NG and OG tubes. We’ll also discuss alternative testing methods so that you have a clear understanding of which one is best.
Can You Use a pH Test for NG/OG Tubes?
If you are wondering if you can use a pH test for NG and OG tubes, the short answer is yes. Not only are pH tests a viable option for testing feeding tube placement, but there are several reasons why they are the most preferable method. The next section will detail a few of those reasons.
Advantages of pH Testing for Feeding Tube Placement
As mentioned above, there are various reasons why pH tests are the best way to confirm the placement of an NG or OG tube. We’ve collected five of the most compelling supporting claims that prove this method is the best in most cases.
Ease of Use
The first reason why pH tests are an excellent method for confirming OG and NG tube placement is that they are very easy to use. While other methods require expensive medical equipment, extensive medical experience, or both, even a layperson can successfully confirm the placement of a feeding tube using a pH kit.
Another fantastic advantage of using pH tests to confirm feeding tube placement is that doing so is entirely non-invasive and exposes the body to no radiation whatsoever. By contrast, one of the leading alternatives to pH tests, X-rays, will expose the body to radiation, which, in high enough amounts, can result in health complications. Ph tests eliminate that risk entirely.
PH tests are not just fast, safe, and easy to use. They are also incredibly accurate as well. As such, when using a pH test, you won’t need to worry about receiving a false reading. In nearly all cases, a properly used pH test will provide an exceptional level of accuracy.
Our last advantage of pH tests for NG and OG tube placement is that this approach is one of the most affordable of any testing method. On the other hand, continually relying on X-rays will quickly cause your medical bills to rise. PH allows you to safely use your feeding at a reasonable cost to you.
Alternatives to pH Testing
We stand by the idea that pH testing is the best method for confirming feeding tube placement. However, you should be aware of the alternatives to this method. For example, one of the most common ways to confirm the placement of an NG or OG tube is by using an X-ray machine. Unfortunately, this method has several downsides.
First, relying on X-rays requires you to travel to a medical facility every time you need to test the placement of your OG or NG tube. This will cause you to spend a significant amount of time and money during the use of your feeding tube.
Additionally, X-rays also expose your body to radiation. While this radiation often does not cause complications in small doses, there is a chance it can begin to compromise your health after prolonged use.
Although X-rays are not preferable over pH tests, they remain the most viable alternative. Other methods, including the woosh test, are both unsafe and unreliable, meaning that you should avoid them entirely when testing feeding tube placement.
Why is it Important to Test NG/OG Tube Placement?
Now that you know that pH tests are the best option for testing the placement of an OG or NG tube, it is time to learn why it is so important to do so in the first place. Simply put, using a feeding tube of any type without confirming its placement is incredibly dangerous and can lead to dire health consequences.
Unfortunately, a surprisingly high number of feeding tubes are misplaced. When this occurs, the feeding tube can often end up somewhere in the person’s lungs rather than in their stomach. Using a misplaced feeding tube will be harmful and even fatal in extreme cases.
Since using a misplaced feeding tube is so detrimental, it is vital to have a dependable method of testing placement, and we strongly believe that pH tests are the most dependable of all.
When to Test NG/OG Tube Placement
Knowing the best method for testing NG and OG tube placement is an excellent start. However, you also need to know when it is necessary to perform these tests. There are multiple distinct instances in which testing placement is necessary.
First, you should always confirm the correct placement as the final step of the placement process. After that, you should make sure to test placement every time that you use the tube for food, fluids, or medication. It’s also best to test placement any time you replace or adjust a feeding tube.
While testing this often may seem excessive, remember that using a misplaced tube is hazardous. That’s why using a pH test when using a feeding tube of any type is the best course of action.
Use a pH Testing Kit You Can Trust
You now know that pH tests are the best method for testing the placement of an NG or OG tube. However, not all pH tests are equally capable of delivering the amazing benefits that we mentioned in this article.
At RightBio Metrics, we developed the RightSpotpH Indicator as the premier pH test for NG and OG tube placement on the market today. If you are interested in learning more about this incredible testing kit, reach out for a live demo today!