Evaluation of a novel platform for placement confirmation of enteral feeding tubes in adults

Nutrition. 2023 Nov:115:112144. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2023.112144. Epub 2023 Jun 30.


Objective: The aim of this study was to validate the ability of a novel, impedance-based platform for nasogastric feeding tube (FT) insertion to correctly predict intragastric FT placement in healthy individuals with and without acid suppression medication.

Methods: Ten patients underwent successive placement of 8, 10, and 12 French FTs with the final intragastric position predicted using an impedance-based algorithm and verified with an abdominal x-ray. Study procedures were repeated after patients received a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for 3 d.

Results: Nasogastric FTs with embedded electrodes spaced along the distal 31 cm of the tubes were placed with the final insertion depth determined by an algorithm integrating impedance and other physiologic parameters. Sixty FT (30 pre-PPI and 30 post-PPI) insertions were performed. The algorithm-predicted location was confirmed as intragastric in all insertions by post-placement abdominal x-ray. For all tube sizes and those with and without PPIs, the impedance at electrodes within the esophagus was significantly higher than at electrodes in the stomach (P < 0.01). As a secondary objective to assess the use of gastric aspirate pH to determine location, gastric aspirate could only be obtained in 30% of insertions. The mean gastric pH was 6.9 (SD 0.6) in patients taking PPIs.

Conclusions: A novel platform for real-time assistance with nasogastric FT placement confirmation correctly determined intragastric FT location as confirmed by abdominal x-ray (standard of care) in all 60 insertions. Gastric pH measurements were difficult to obtain and unreliable for intragastric FT placement confirmation in patients taking acid suppression medication.

Keywords: Critical care; Enteral nutrition; Feeding tube; Malnutrition; Medical errors.