Ensuring Patient Safety While Positioning an NG Tube

By  //  March 11, 2023

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Patient Safety Week is an annual recognition event encouraging patients, families, and medical staff to learn more about the best and latest healthcare practices, such as NG tube positioning with new devices like ENvue

Patient Safety Week in 2023 will take place from March 12-18. This time can be used to shift focus toward specific patient safety concerns and combat malpractice in daily hospital operations.

This article will describe the importance of patient safety in NG tube positioning to expand best practices into this specific procedure. NG tube positioning is a standard medical procedure that occurs 35 million times yearly to ensure proper nutrition of patients who cannot eat through the mouth.

Unfortunately, 2-5% of inserted feeding tubes are accidentally placed in the lungs, leading to a 30% chance of a collapsed lung or possible fatality. These results occur mainly when medical staff uses traditional blind insertion methods rather than navigation technology. The main complication of tube misplacement is lung collapse, medically known as pneumothorax.

Read more to understand why Patient Safety Week 2023 is crucial to global patient health. This article will discuss important medical topics and procedures to implement for higher levels of patient safety this year and moving forward.

What is Patient Safety Week?

National Patient Safety Week in the United States was officially established in 2002 by The National Patient Safety Foundation as a country-wide time of observance. The week encourages continued education regarding common health concerns, risky procedures, and healthcare devices.

One of the week’s most important aspects is raising awareness of patients’ and staff’s physical and mental well-being. In addition, this week provides extra time to reevaluate and understand what changes can be implemented in the healthcare system.

One of the essential focal points of Patient Safety Week is learning about past medical errors and breaches. In addition, medical staff and companies must implement safer daily practices and manufacturing to limit the number of injuries and deaths in hospitals and home care supervision.

Patient safety has remained a concern dating as far back as the 1960s. In 1984, according to National Today, 1.3 million injuries and 180,000 deaths occurred that could have been prevented across the United States. In addition, a World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2019 said that one out of every ten patients in high-income countries faces injury or death due to poor safety measures in healthcare settings.

From the 1960s until now, continuing education and safer healthcare management has never been more crucial, especially considering the access to top-tier technology that is now available.

Why is patient safety so important?

There has been immense progress in patient safety due to new technologies and higher levels of hospital staff training. However, despite the continued advancements in healthcare since the establishment of proper systems, the WHO states that an estimated 134 million adverse events occur yearly due to unsafe care in hospitals.

Feeding tube placements are standard procedures that occur in hospitals every day. And although procedures like surgery are high on the list of risks in hospital operations, feeding tube placement risks must also be considered. Many adverse effects of NG tube positioning require further investigation by medical teams to perform better when patients arrive at the hospital needing alternative nutrition access.

While the most apparent risks associated with misplaced feeding tubes include lung collapse and aspiration pneumonia, there are other factors to consider. When an NG feeding tube is positioned using traditional methods of blind insertion, there is an additional risk of noticing patient injury only after any damage has occurred.

For example, X-ray is a traditional confirmation method in tube placements. However, the issues with X-rays include repeated radiation and delayed confirmation of the final feeding tube placement in the stomach or small intestine. Fortunately, new technologies help with feeding tube insertion and administration, as discussed in this article.

Some studies show that about 400,000 deaths occur in the United States yearly that could have been prevented. The damaging effects of misplaced NG feeding tubes are included in many cases of preventable injuries and deaths. Using modern technological solutions for standard hospital procedures increases hospital safety and provides safer environments for nurses, patients, and doctors.

Ensuring patient safety with new NG tube positioning system

Medical devices are constantly introduced to the health market to encourage and ensure higher levels of patient safety. Many of these devices provide comfort to medical teams and patients as they are used to ease the complications associated with risky procedures. Companies that produce medical devices are driven to deliver efficiency, effectiveness, ease of use, and sustainability to various healthcare products.

Ensuring patient safety by acquiring new medical devices can lead to nurses, patients, and doctors receiving more accurate procedure results, faster rates of diagnoses, and more holistic information on necessary healing times. Feeding tube devices are among the most popular and continue to receive the latest technological updates due to the sheer amount of NG feeding tube procedures occurring every year.

One of the most successful technologies in the feeding tube field is ENvizion Medical’s ENvue body navigation system, which was FDA-cleared in 2019. The company focuses on curbing lung collapse cases and other injuries related to NG tube positioning, such as aspiration pneumonia.

The ENvue system uses electromagnetic sensors to map patients’ bodies and navigate a feeding tube inserted past the airways, through the esophagus, and into the stomach or small intestine. In addition, the device provides safe NG tube positioning in real time, which must be a central focus this Patient Safety Week.

This week aims to provide patients, families, and medical professionals with more tools to understand the risks associated with malpractice. Patient Safety Week 2023 will also highlight ways to increase success rates in medical settings to ensure optimal levels of patient safety now and in the future. The path to safer medical procedures continues with technological advancements helping hospital staff at work and patients when receiving care.