Most of the nurses on our unit have 20+ years experience and have always used NS for NG tube irrigation and pulled back what we instilled.
A newer nurse has told us we are all wrong in using NS, sterile water should be used as saline will alter electrolyte balance.
We have no comeback except that NS is what we were taught to use. We checked for a hospital policy and of course there is none and we have no resource clinician.
What is to be used and why?
I went to school in the past 5 years. Tap water is used. Additionally every facility that I am familar with uses tap water.
The stomach is never a steril enviorment. Yea an acid imbalance could cause problems. Think about this. If you do not have an NG and you drink your fluids and you have a lack of HCL you still do not drink a steril solution nor do you drink N/S.
An NG tube only by passes the fluid comming in contact with the tissues of the mouth and throat. It does not alter anything about the stomach. NGs are used most often when there is a swallow problem and not because there is a stomach problem.
Most of the time I am sucessful unclogging tubes with warm H2O. Bicarb is useful if prevacid is blocking the tube. It is the Acid in coke an fruit juice that supposedly unblocks the tube. But like I said warm H2o has been my best friend here.
Some one said that 1-2 oz of NS wont upset lyte balance that bieng said, 1-2 oz of tap water in the stomach where tap water is normally put will do no harm. So why use $$$ N/s or steril water?
As far as diarrhea goes we do not treat diarrhea with 1-2 oz N/s nor steril H2o so why would you just because there is an NG. We don't even when they are on a proton pump inhibitor
Last edit by Agnus on Aug 30, '03
Aug 30, '03
I have to admit i didnt really consider the sterile water and diarreha issue. But i will remember it now,, thanks. We use regular tap water usually, but if the patient is having tube feedings we use diet 7-up. The carbonation cuts the build up in the lumen of the tube well, and if you are checking residuals there is no added color to the stomach contents like there might be with the Coke. Using diet also doesnt add to the dietary calculations if on feedings(sugar or calories).
Last edit by meownsmile on Aug 30, '03