Q: What is the best way to secure orogastric and nasogastric tubes on patients who have been intubated?

A: Jan Powers, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, replies:

This is a pertinent question in nursing practice because securing tubes placed orally or nasally can often be challenging. Enteral tubes are placed into the stomach or the small bowel and are common in intubated patients in the intensive care unit. Enteral tubes are typically used for suction or gastric decompression and to deliver enteral nutrition. Regardless of route or purpose, it is imperative to ensure the tubes are secured properly to prevent inadvertent dislodgment.

Many complications can occur if tubes are not secured properly and they become dislodged, including aspiration, pneumonia, and sepsis. Another concern occurs when the dislodged tube requires replacement. This procedure introduces the potential for the tube to inadvertently enter the lung, which may cause pneumothorax and/or lung injury....

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