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The evaluation of efficacy of three different ultrasonography methods for verification of gastric tube placement in intensive care unit patients

Funda Gok.

Abstract
Gastric tube (GT) placement is a routine procedure in critically ill patients. Improper placement of GT could lead to severe complications. Radiography remains as the gold standard test to confirm tube position. The study aim is to estimate diagnostic accuracy of three different ultrasonography (USG) methods to verify GT placement in intensive care units (ICU).
Twenty-five mechanically ventilated patients were included in this prospective and observational study. All real time US examinations were performed by an intensivist in three steps: sonography ofneck for visualizing esophagus and upper abdominal quadrant for visualizing stomach,and visualisation of dynamic fogging during water and air insufflations in gastric area. Finally, gastric placement of GT was confirmed with abdominal radiography.
USG visualized GT in esophagus in 24 (96 %) patients. GT was directly visualized in stomach in 16 (64%) patients and dynamic fogging occurred in 20 (80 %) in the first attempt and in 23 (92 %) patients after tube removal. Because gastric tube was not seen in stomach in nine cases, dynamic fogging allowed to confirm intragastric position in seven cases. In two cases, no dynamic fogging was observed, and radiography confirmedtube malposition in esophagus. Entire sonographic procedure took 7.24±2.58 minutes.
Visualization of the esophagus and dynamic fogging improves the diagnostic accuracy of USG in verifying GT position. Confirming correct GT placement by USG has the potential to reduce X-ray usage and save time. However, X-ray remains the gold standard in cases in which USG cannot verify placement of the GT.

Key words: Esophagus;gastric tube placement;intensive care unit;ultrasonography


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