Why Tube Feeding Support is Critical in the NICU

Why Tube Feeding Support is Critical in the NICU

How RightBio Metrics' RightSpotpH® Indicator Provides Safer NG/OG Tube Placement

Tube feeding is an integral practice in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) to deliver vital nutrition to premature or critically ill newborns unable to feed orally. However, incorrect placement of nasogastric (NG) and orogastric (OG) feeding tubes into the respiratory tract instead of the stomach can lead to devastating complications if contents are accidentally delivered to the lungs. This danger highlights the critical need to definitively confirm proper tube placement before initiating feeds in the NICU.

RightBio Metrics offers an innovative solution with its FDA-cleared, CLIA-waived RightSpotpH® Indicator. This proprietary device accurately verifies NG/OG tube location through a simple pH test of aspirate from the tube. RightSpotpH testing protects you and your patients from hazardous exposure to bodily fluids while enhancing safety and quality of care.

Alarming Risks of Misplaced Feeding Tubes

Feeding tubes that inadvertently end up in the lungs (trachea or bronchi) rather than the intended gastric destination are a widespread but avoidable medical error in neonatal care. Research indicates up to 25% of initial NG/OG tube placements are improperly positioned across pediatric patients. This misplacement rate is likely even higher in the vulnerable NICU population given their anatomical and developmental challenges.

Misplaced tubes that go undetected can lead to devastating complications including lung infections, collapsed lungs, tissue damage and even patient death. Premature infants are especially susceptible to harm from their extremely underdeveloped and fragile lung tissue alongside an immature immune system. Clearly, verifying correct gastric placement before you deliver feeds is imperative.

Serious Limitations of Traditional Placement Methods

Before explaining the RightSpotpH solution, it’s important to understand the serious limitations of current approaches used to verify feeding tube placement.

  • Auscultation involves listening with a stethoscope over the abdomen as air is pushed through the tube. However, this technique is prone to human error and cannot reliably distinguish between tracheal and bronchial placement.
  • Radiography via X-ray or fluoroscopy directly visualizes tube location but also exposes the fragile patient to unnecessary radiation. It additionally requires potentially hazardous transport of the baby out of the controlled NICU environment.
  • Bubbles/color change rely on clinician visual observation of reactions when gastric contents are aspirated via the tube. However, this approach risks dangerous infection transmission and is not always definitive.
  • Magnetic detection can only exclude airway placement but cannot fully confirm the targeted proper gastric location.

RightSpotpH Revolutionizes Safe NG/OG Placement Verification

The RightSpotpH® Indicator overcomes these challenges through an ingeniously simple pH test using proprietary colorimetric technology. Here is how RightSpotpH testing works:

  1. Gastric aspirate fluid is first drawn into the syringe through the existing NG/OG tube.
  2. A few drops of aspirate are then dispensed onto the single-use RightSpotpH test strip.
  3. The strip changes color within seconds to clearly indicate the pH level of the aspirate sample. The pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity on a range from 0-14. Gastric fluid is highly acidic with pH around 1-3.
  4. Green designates safe gastric placement (pH ≤ 5.0) while original yellow signals incorrect tracheal/bronchial position (pH > 5.0).

This provides rapid, highly accurate confirmation of proper tube location with no exposure risk. RightSpotpH testing represents the new gold standard for safe, effective NG/OG placement verification in neonatal care and beyond. Importantly, no specialized training or capital equipment purchases are required to easily implement this lifesaving technology.

RightSpotpH Delivers Essential Benefits for NICUs

Adopting RightSpotpH testing can profoundly transform NG/OG placement practices:

  • Enhanced Safety – Dramatically reduces complications from misplaced feeding tubes.
  • Improved Care – Quickly validates correct gastric position before starting feeds.
  • Greater Efficiency – Simple, rapid confirmation without X-rays or transport.
  • Regulatory Alignment – Meets FDA, CLIA, OSHA and accreditation standards.
  • Cost Savings – Prevents expenses related to misplacement events.

Tube feeding is integral for critically ill NICU patients. However, verifying proper gastric placement first is vital to avoid catastrophic outcomes. RightBio Metrics’ RightSpotpH Indicator offers a proven solution to optimize feeding tube positioning and safety.

Contact us to learn more about implementing RightSpotpH or request a free live demo. Safer tube feeds start with RightSpotpH.

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