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Alternative namesGastric lavage; Stomach pumping; Nasogastric tube
DefinitionGastric suction is a procedure to empty the contents of the stomach, usually for analysis or removal of irritating elements such as poisons.
How the test is performed
A tube is inserted through the nose or mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Sometimes a topical anesthetic may be applied to minimize irritation and gagging as the tube is being placed.
Stomach contents can be removed using suction immediately or after irrigating water through the tube.
How to prepare for the test
In an emergency setting such as when a patient has swallowed poison or is vomiting blood, no preparation is needed for gastric suction. When it is done for the analysis of gastric acid, your physician may ask you to fast overnight or stop taking certain medications.
How the test will feelYou may feel a gagging sensation as the tube is passed.
Why the test is performedThis test may be performed for several different reasons, such as:
What the risks are
There is a very small risk of the tube being accidentally placed into the airway instead of the esophagus.
Other small risks include the following:
Update Date: 1/2/2003Jenifer K. Lehrer, M.D., Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT