Bedside postpyloric feeding tube placement: A pilot series to validate this novel technique

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Abstract

Objective:

Postpyloric feeding may facilitate tolerance to enteral nutrition (EN) and offers an alternative route of feed administration when prepyloric EN fails. However, this is constrained by the difficulty of establishing nasojejunal (NJ) tube placement, which may necessitate endoscopy or radiology with the inevitable delay in the instigation of treatment. A bedside technique of NJ tube insertion has, therefore, been developed to permit blind postpyloric intubation. The primary aim of this audit was to validate the success of bedside NJ tube placement using the described technique. Secondary end points included the time taken to establish EN and the value of aspirate pH as an indicator of tube tip placement.

Design:

Observational.

Setting:

District general hospital.

Patients:

Consecutive patients requiring EN.

Measurements and Main Results:

The time taken to insert the tubes, the success rates in achieving the required position, and the time between the decision to feed and commencement of EN were recorded. The pH of any aspirate obtained was related to tube tip placement. Tube position was confirmed radiologically before starting EN. A total of 43 NJ tubes were inserted in 32 patients. Successful postpyloric intubation was achieved in 35 of 43 patients (81%). The median time for tube insertion was 18 (14–30) minutes. Time from the decision to feed to commencement of EN was 6 (5–18) hours. Aspirates were obtained from 26 of 43 (60%) intubations. Gastric aspirate pH readings were obtained for 19 of 43 (44%) of these intubations. Radiology reliably demonstrated the position of the tube tip in all cases.

Conclusions:

By-the-bedside NJ tube placement is possible in more than 80% of patients. This may overcome delays in the commencement of feeds resulting from other methods of postpyloric tube placement. The use of aspirate pH on its own is not a reliable indicator of tube tip position.

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