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Use of Nasogastric Tubes in Trauma Patients – A Review
  1. EJ Spurrier, Senior House Officer1 and
  2. AMcD Johnston, Specialist Registrar in Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine2
  1. 1Basic Surgical Training, Peterborough District Hospital, Peterborough. PE3 6DA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University Hospital Birmingham.


Traditionally, suspected basal skull fractures have been considered a relative contra-indication to inserting a nasogastric tube (NGT). In patients with basal skull fractures the Advanced Trauma Life Support protocol recommends that an orogastric tube (OGT) be inserted rather than a nasogastric tube (NGT). This article reviews the available literature. We conclude that in patients with suspected or confirmed basal skull fractures numerous case reports confirm that nasogastric tube insertion may lead to intracranial placement which, although the causal relationship is unclear, is associated with patient death.

  • Trauma
  • Nasogastric Tubes
  • Intracranial Placement

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