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Gastric tube - Definition


A gastric tube is a long feeding tube inserted into the stomach, in most cases through the nose, called a nasogastric tube, but sometimes by mouth. This flexible tube contains one or two inner ducts and is connected to an exterior device. It is first lubricated, then inserted by an expert through the nostril or mouth. The insertion must be performed slowly in order to locate the esophagus and follow it down to the stomach. This procedure is often painful for the patient. The tube can be guided and kept in the correct position by way of x-ray. Gastric tubes are inserted primarily to provide nourishment to a patient who is no longer able to eat, such as very weak patients or those in a coma, for example. It can also be used for the suction of stomach contents, such as is sometimes required in cases of ingested toxins or digestive bleeds.