Cardiothoracic surgery patients have an increased risk for aspiration and may require enteral access for nutrition.
In a cardiothoracic intensive care unit, feeding start times were delayed because of scheduling conflicts with support services. An electromagnetic device (Cortrak 2 Enteral Access System, Avanos Medical) was introduced to allow advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to independently establish postpyloric access and reduce dependence on ancillary services.
A quality improvement study was performed. Pre- and postimplementation data included order time, service arrival, tube placement time, tube positioning, and feeding start times for 207 placements. Pre- and postimplementation surveys were conducted to evaluate advanced practice provider satisfaction with enteral tube placement practices.
Feeding start time for initial placement decreased by 35.5% (15.6 hours to 10 hours); for subsequent placement, by 55.2% (15.5 hours to 7.0 hours). Assistance by support services decreased by 80.4% (before implementation, 100 of 100 placements [100%]; after implementation, 21 of 107 placements [19.6%]; P < .001; ϕ = 0.815). Overall, advanced practice provider satisfaction increased. Most participants said that using the electromagnetic device was faster, nutrition was delivered sooner, and implementation was a valuable practice change.
Using an electromagnetic device decreased feeding start times, reduced the need for support services, and increased advanced practice provider satisfaction with small-bowel feeding tube placement practices.