Gastric tube placement in young children

Marsha L. Cirgin Ellett, Joseph M.B. Croffie, Mervyn D. Cohen, Susan M. Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In this study, the internal position of a nasogastric/orogastric tube was determined in 72 children, prior to an abdominal radiograph, by measuring CO 2 and pH and bilirubin of tube aspirate. Fifteen of the 72 tubes (20.8%) were incorrectly placed on radiograph. Using the suggested adult cutoff of pH 5, pH of aspirate correctly predicted misplacement outside the stomach in 7/28 (25%) of children and correctly predicted correct placement in the stomach in 34 of 40 children (85%). Using the suggested adult cutoff of bilirubin ≥ 5 mg/dL, bilirubin monitoring failed to identify either of two incorrectly placed tubes. In this study, using an algorithm of assuming stomach placement if the pH of aspirate is ≤ 5 and obtaining an abdominal radiograph when either no aspirate is obtained or the pH is > 5 would have resulted in 92% accuracy. Alternatively, obtaining an abdominal radiograph would result in nearly 100% accuracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-252
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Nursing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Children
  • Enteral tubes
  • Feeding tubes
  • Nasogastric tubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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