The role of gastric pH testing with small-bore feeding tubes: in the intensive care unit

Dimens Crit Care Nurs. 2005 Sep-Oct;24(5):210-4. doi: 10.1097/00003465-200509000-00004.


In this observational study, we sought to assess the usefulness of pH values from residuals in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with small-bore feeding tubes. A review of the literature demonstrated that most critically ill patients were excluded in previous studies on gastric pH testing, suggesting that pH testing in critical care is not warranted. Our results demonstrated that 21% of intestinal testing and 64% of gastric testing yielded potential misinformation to the bedside nurse with regards to possible tube location. In conclusion, pH testing for small-bore tube placement and maintenance was not deemed meaningful in our critical care unit.

MeSH terms

  • Enteral Nutrition / instrumentation
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Enteral Nutrition / nursing
  • Gastric Acidity Determination*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Retrospective Studies