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Nasogastric Tubes (NG Tube)


A nasogastric (NG) tube is a flexible plastic tube that goes through the patient's mouth or nose into the stomach. Sometimes this tube will go through the patient’s mouth into the stomach, then it is called an ‘orogastric’ tube.  In both instances the tube functions the same way and are usually only referred to as an “NG”.

NG Tube

Nasogastric Tube

How Does it Work?

The NG Tube has two main purposes.  Firstly it allows the Intensive care staff to empty the stomach and prevent the build up of fluids which may get into the lungs if the patient was to vomit.  Secondly the NG provides a way to give medication or food to a patient who cannot swallow. The end of the NG tube may be connected to a feeding pump, a drainage bag, a suction device or closed with a spiggot. The NG Tube is secured in place by tape. A NG tube is necessary until the gastrointestinal tract is functioning normally or the patient is capable of swallowing.

Are There Any Complications?

All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for the patient.

Any Questions?

Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.


NB these translations were based on an earlier version of this description

The image below was sourced from Mayo Clinic

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The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual patient variation.  In addition it reflects Australian intensive care practice which may differ from other countries. It is meant as a back up to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one.  ICCMU attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual patient.  Please refer to the full disclaimer.


Nasogastic Tube ~ Version 1.3
First Published June 2004
Reviewed November 2011
Reviewer Kay Johnson CNS  ICCMU

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 December 2013 23:47