Drawbacks of Confirming NG Tube Placement with X-Rays
Nasogastric tubes (NG) are a vital piece of medical equipment for those facing a condition or injury that prevents them from eating and drinking normally. As you would expect, there is a specific process for correctly placing an NG tube, and part of that process involves confirming that the tube placement is correct. One of the most common ways to confirm NG tube placement is to use an X-ray. However, as this article will reveal, there are some significant drawbacks to confirming NG tube placement using an X-ray machine.
Confirming NG Tube Placement with X-Ray is Inefficient
The first reason why using an X-ray to confirm NG tube placement is not ideal is that this method is simply inefficient. While the results of using X-rays to confirm NG tube placement are typically highly accurate, it does take a while to receive them. As we will touch on in a later section, there are other ways to confirm NG tube placement that give you results immediately.
Confirming NG Tube Placement with X-Ray Can Become Expensive
The next reason against using X-rays to confirm NG tube placement is the overall cost. On average, a chest X-ray costs just under $400. While this is a price that most patients are able to cover if you need to repeatedly confirm the placement of an NG tube, then using X-rays will eventually become incredibly expensive. Fortunately, the placement confirmation method we’ll discuss later offers equally accurate results at a fraction of the cost of repeatedly using X-rays.
Confirming NG Tube Placement with X-Ray Exposes the Body to Radiation
While X-rays are an incredible tool that allows medical professionals to make informed treatment decisions, they are not entirely harmless. Unfortunately, undergoing an X-ray will expose your body to ionizing radiation, which comes with a few risks. For instance, X-ray radiation can negatively affect your skin and hair and may lead to an increased risk of cancer in later life.
Of course, many people receive X-rays without experiencing any related complications. However, if you are concerned about the radiation your body will be exposed to during an X-ray, then you are best off finding a different method of confirming NG tube placement.
Confirming NG Tube Placement with X-Ray is Inconvenient
The final primary reason why confirming NG tube placement using X-rays is not the best option is that the entire process is inconvenient. Not only will you need to spend time and money to receive an X-ray, but you’ll also need to travel to a facility that has an X-ray machine. Considering you’ll need to test the placement of an NG tube multiple times during its use, it is safe to say that using an X-ray machine is one of the least convenient placement confirmation methods.
Why It's Important to Confirm NG Tube Placement
By now, you have a clearer idea of some of the drawbacks of using X-rays to confirm NG tube placement. However, it is also crucial for you to know why it is so important to accurately confirm the placement of an NG tube.
Simply put, you cannot expect to use an NG tube safely for the administration of nutrients or medication without first confirming that the placement is correct. Using an NG tube without confirming the correct placement can result in negative outcomes such as pneumonia and other serious physical complications.
The importance of confirming NG tube placement is the reason why there are so many different methods for doing so. This issue is, as the sections above show, not all of these methods are equally useful even if they are popular and widely used.
When to Confirm NG Tube Placement
When discussing the importance of confirming NG tube placement, the next concern people often consider is how often they will need to perform placement confirmation. When following best practices, you’ll need to confirm NG tube placement more often than you might first expect.
You should always confirm the placement of an NG tube just after you have completed the placement process. This final step in the placement process ensures that you were able to complete all previous steps successfully.
You should also confirm the placement of an NG tube every time that you use an NG tube. Even if you confirmed placement during the initial placement, continually confirming placement before use ensures the tube did not shift to an inopportune location and helps you make sure that you are using your NG tube as safely and correctly as possible.
Considering the fact that you may need to use an NG tube for several weeks, you’ll certainly need to confirm placement multiple times. This need for ongoing confirmation is the main reason why X-rays prove to be an incredibly inefficient and inconvenient method for confirming NG tube placement.
A Better Way to Confirm NG Tube Placement
Although using X-ray to confirm NG tube placement has its drawbacks, the good news is that there is a method for confirming NG tube placement that is better in almost every way. That preferred method involves using a pH testing kit like the RightSpotpH® to confirm that the tube is properly placed. Using a pH testing kit is amazingly convenient in several ways.
First, you won’t need to travel to a medical facility to use one of these kits. Instead, you can perform placement confirmation using a pH test in almost any location.
Next, compared to repeatedly using an X-ray machine, pH tests are considerably more cost-effective. That means you won’t need to worry about your budget when endeavoring to use an NG tube safely.
pH tests that confirm NG tube placement also place no stress on the person’s body and do not involve the use of radiation. Best of all, pH testing kits are easy to use, and they provide results almost immediately. Since those results are accurate and easy to read, using a pH test proves to be the ideal alternative when you begin to consider the significant drawbacks of confirming NG tube placement with X-rays. For more information about the RightSpotpH® contact us today at 440-526-0160.