April 1953


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine and Veterans Administration Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1953;66(4):538-544. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1953.01260030553022

THE MOST valuable single addition to the surgical armamentarium in recent times is the nasal-gastric suction tube. Its general acceptance in postoperative care has become so commonplace that little thought is given to the possible dangers and accidents which may result from its use. It is the purpose of this discussion to evaluate some of these possibilities to see whether they are real or imagined.

Many isolated studies have been made which indicate the amount of electrolyte and fluid lost with nasal-gastric suction.1 To my knowledge no broad clinical study has been carried out to demonstrate the average amount of this loss in hospital patients. It seemed desirable to investigate this particular phase of electrolyte balance in the average clinical application of the gastric tube. It is important to know just how much fluid is usually removed from the patient by this route and the amount of electrolyte that

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