January 1989

Pneumothorax due to Nasogastric Feeding TubesReport of Four Cases, Review of the Literature, and Recommendations for Prevention

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Arch Intern Med. 1989;149(1):184-188. doi:10.1001/archinte.1989.00390010156022

• Intrapulmonary placement of small-bore nasogastric feeding tubes caused pneumothoraces in four patients. Review of the literature discloses another 106 cases of the same complication. Risk factors for intrapulmonary complications include endotracheal intubation or tracheostomy (60% of reported cases [95% confidence interval, 44% to 80%]), and altered mental status (36% of reported cases [95% confidence Interval, 24% to 53%]). We propose a simple, two-step method of feeding tube insertion designed to prevent such complications in high-risk patients.

(Arch Intern Med 1989;149:184-188)