Importance of Verifying NG/OG Tube Placement

Whether you rely on a nasogastric (NG) or an orogastric (OG) tube, it is crucial that you understand how to test the placement of your feeding tube. After all, accurately confirming the proper placement of a feeding tube is the only way to use it safely. 

In this article, we’ll give you a full explanation of why it is so essential to test NG/OG tube placement. After we answer that question, we’ll also reveal the most reliable placement testing method. 

Why is it Important to Test Feeding Tube Placement?

While NG and OG tubes are incredibly convenient for supplying food, fluids, and medication to those who cannot eat and drink normally, these tubes are only safe to use if you know how to place them properly. Unfortunately, misplaced feeding tubes are more common than you might expect. 

In fact, some studies reveal that feeding tube placement can go wrong in between 21 to 56% of instances. The problem here is that using a misplaced feeding is a severe health risk. 

When you attempt to use an NG/OG tube that does not have proper placement, the food, fluids, and medication you send through the tube can end up in places other than the person’s stomach, such as the lungs. This error can lead to breathing complications and may even cause fatalities in some cases. 

As such, using a reliable feeding tube placement test is vital to the safe and effective use of an NG or OG tube. However, as the next section will show, not all feeding tube placement test methods are as effective as others.

What is the Best Way to Test Feeding Tube Placement?

While there are several methods for testing the placement of an NG or OG tube, one of those methods consistently proves to be the preferable option. Among all testing approaches, using a PH testing kit is the best choice for several reasons.

Reasons Why PH is Best for Testing Feeding Tube Placement

We’ve just mentioned that PH testing kits are the best way to confirm feeding tube placement. However, we felt it was necessary to back up that claim with a few distinct reasons why this is the best approach. Below are the top ways in which PH testing kits provide advantages that other testing methods do not:

  1. Affordability: PH testing kits are extremely cost-effective compared to other common testing methods. 
  2. Excellent accuracy: When using a PH testing kit, you won’t need to worry about false readings. Instead, you’ll get accurate results in nearly every case. 
  3. Easy to use: PH tests are also advantageous for home care because they are easy to perform. Even if you have no medical background, you can use this testing method. 
  4. No radiation: PH tests are completely non-invasive, and they do not expose your body to potentially harmful radiation the way other testing methods do. 
  5. Quick results: One of the most convenient aspects of using a PH testing kit is that you’ll get results almost instantly. 

Clearly, using a PH testing kit has enough advantages to be the first option you should look to when confirming the placement of an NG or OG tube at home. However, it is far from the only method out there for achieving this goal.

Alternative Ways to Test NG/OG Tube Placement

Although we are confident that using a PH test is the best way to confirm feeding tube placement, you should have an understanding of the other options that exist. For example, one of the most common ways to test the placement of an NG or OG tube is by using an X-ray. X-rays are often able to provide accurate results. However, they come with some significant downsides. 

First, x-ray machines expose the body to radiation. Over time, repeated radiation exposure can lead to some health complications. Additionally, using an X-ray requires you to travel to a medical facility each time you test the placement of your feeding tube. This is not only inconvenient, but it also leads to higher medical bills. 

Additionally, there is another well-known feeding tube placement test method known as the “woosh” test. The “woosh” test involves blowing into the tube and listening for a sound that supposedly indicates the tube’s location. However, this test is completely outdated and is so inaccurate that you should never rely on it.

When to Test Feeding Tube Placement

Now that you understand the importance of verifying feeding tube placement and you understand the best method, it is time to learn the specific instances in which you should perform one of these tests. The list below indicates a few scenarios in which you should always test NG or OG tube placement:

  1. After the initial placement of the tube
  2. Before every time you use the tube
  3. After replacing or adjusting the tube

Using an NG or OG tube is usually something that people have to do for at least a few weeks. Since that is the case, it is important to have a placement testing method that you find reliable and can be used repeatedly throughout the use of the tube. We stand by the claim that PH tests are the best option that you can choose.

Use the Best NG/OG Tube Placement Test You Can Find

Although you already know that PH tests are the best method for confirming the placement of an NG or OG tube, you should also know that some PH tests are better at delivering results than others. At RightBio Metrics, we believe that our testing kit, the RightSpotpH® Indicator, is the best NG/OG placement test kit available. 

To learn more about how quick, convenient, and effective the RightSpotpH® Indicator is, visit our website to learn more. We’re also happy to provide you with a free demo of our products as well!

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