Down the Wrong Way: An Important Complication of Nasogastric Tube Placement

Aneurin Moorthy


Placement of a nasogastric tube is a very common procedure carried out by doctors and nurses on both medical and surgical wards. Indications include for feeding purpose to meet the patients nutrition requirement and a therapeutic use to decompress a distended bowl in an acute small/large bowl obstruction. Insertion of a nasogastric tube into the pulmonary tree is a well-recognized complication that can possibly cause a pneumothorax or pulmonary aspiration if feeding was commenced without checking its position before use. This case report describes pneumothorax in a 65-year-old patient following insertion of a nasogastric tube. It also highlights the management of pneumothorax causes by intra-pleural insertion of a nasogastric tube and patients who are susceptible to nasogastric tube complications.

J Med Cases. 2014;5(12):618-620


Nasogastric tube; Pneumothorax; Complications; Pleural penetration

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