Does Everyone with a Small Bowel Obstruction Need a Nasogastric Tube? What Is the Safest Way to Place It?

  • Ashley Gray
  • Jessica L. Smith


Nasogastric (NG) intubation is a common practice in conservative management of small bowel obstruction. When indicated, it can provide patients symptomatic relief and lead to improved measurement of gastrointestinal losses, allowing for adequate fluid repletion. However, NG tubes have been associated with increased respiratory failure in patients without emesis and carry significant risks if malpositioned or used for a prolonged duration. NG tubes are generally warranted in symptomatic patients but should be considered on a case-by-case basis for asymptomatic patients.


Small bowel obstruction Intestinal decompression Nasogastric tube Nasointestinal tube Aspiration pneumonia Respiratory failure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Gray
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineAlpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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