What is a NG?
NG is the short way of saying nasogastric tube. Naso means nose and gastric means stomach. So a NG goes into your nose and down into your stomach. The NG is actually a long, very bendy flexible tube. It will be taped to your nose and cheek.
Why do I need to have a NG?
Sometimes you will have a NG if you have to take special medicine that you are having a difficult time drinking by mouth. Other times, you may have a NG to help you get the food and nutrients that you body needs, especially if you are not eating or are unable to eat. A NG tube may also be used to drain extra fluid or air from your stomach.
What does a NG look like?
The NG is a long, very bendy flexible tube. It may be attached to a bag that hangs from a pole. The pole is the same pole used to hang an IV (intravenous) bag. The bag contains food or medicine depending on what you need. There may be a small computer attached to the NG, the computer controls how fast or slow the medicine or food moves into your stomach. The computer will beep when the medicine or food is almost done, or if the battery is low, it beeps even if there is a bend in the plastic tube. The beep tells the nurses to come and check your NG. If the NG is being used for draining fluid from your stomach, then it may be connected to a machine on the wall that will help remove the extra stomach fluid. If this is the type of NG you have, you may hear a noise like a gurgling sound when the NG is working.
What happens when I have a NG?
A nurse will come to you to insert the NG. He/she will measure the length the NG has to be by measuring from the tip of your nose to your ear, and then down to your stomach area. The nurse marks the tube to know how far it has to go in to reach your stomach.
The tip of the NG will be covered in a clear jelly, this helps to make it slippery. The nurse will then start sliding it into your nose, and move it gently down your throat and into your stomach. The nurse may ask you to drink water and swallow as it is happening, this can help it to go down easier.
Once it is in place the nurse will check to make sure that it is in the right place. Also, the nurse will use a small strip of paper to check to make sure that the fluid from the tube is stomach fluid. The paper will change colour with the fluid that lets the nurse know that it is stomach fluid, which means that the tube is in the right spot.
Once it is in the right place, the nurse will use soft tape to hold the NG tube in place. The tape will be on your cheek and maybe on your nose.
What will the NG feel like?
? It will feel uncomfortable when it is going into your nose.
? You may feel like you have to throw up or gag when it is going in.
? You may feel like you have something stuck in your throat after the tube is in for the first little while until you get used to the tube being there.
Preparing for the test
There is nothing that you need to do to prepare a NG. You do not have to go anywhere to have the test done; your nurse will come into your room to do it.
If you have any questions about the test, always ask! You can have your parents and/or child life specialist with you during the procedure to help you.