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The value of decompression of the stomach and small bowel by means of nasal tubes passed into these organs has been proved in the treatment of paralytic ileus and the various types of peritonitis. Stricture of the esophagus is seen occasionally when nasal tubes have been kept in place for several days. A commoner complication is seen in persons who have bronchiectasis, chronic rhinitis, upper respiratory tract infection, or a poor cardiac reserve. With the use of a nasal tube in such patients, postoperative collapse of the lung or bronchopneumonia is a constant danger. Aged and debilitated patients may have a poor cough reflex, and, following laparotomy, it is often necessary to remove the nasal tube to give the patient a much needed rest and to keep the airways clear of mucus.
When performing a laparotomy in such patients, I have used the following maneuver with great success (see the
Gilchrist RK. POSTOPERATIVE DECOMPRESSION OF THE STOMACH AND JEJUNUM BY GASTROSTOMY. JAMA. 1953;152(3):232. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.63690030012006d
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