Failure of drip and suck in postoperative ileus: A faulty non-perforated NG tube (2019)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Bristow D.; *Shaw J.

BMJ Case Reports; Jun 2019; vol. 12 (no. 6)

A 55-year-old woman developed a postoperative ileus with associated nausea and vomiting following an
elective laparotomy. A wide bore nasogastric (NG) tube was inserted for gastric decompression and symptom
relief. Aspiration of the tube was unsuccessful and the patient continued to vomit. Imaging to investigate the
acute abdomen demonstrated the nasogastric tube to be correctly sited and within pooled gastric contents.
Gentle initial attempts were made to unblock the NG but to no avail and therefore it was removed. On
inspection it was discovered that the NG tube had no distal perforations to allow drainage, causing failure and
increasing the patient's risk of aspiration. The aim of this report is draw attention to the importance of
scrutinising all medical equipment prior to use to prevent avoidable and potentially serious patient harm.

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