Utrasound as a method for confirming the positioning of enteral catheters in critically ill patients

Ronan de Souza, Cecilia Gómez Ravetti, Rafael Silva e Castro, Elio Furbino Frossard, Isabella Santanna dos Anjos, Angélica Gomides dos Reis Gomes, Paula Frizera Vassallo, Vandack Nobre


Aim: To evaluate the agreement between the bedside ultrasound in a single epigastric window and the plain X-ray to confirm the positioning of the enteral catheter in critically ill patients.

Material and methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional study conducted in two Intensive Care Units of a university hospital. The ultrasound exams were carried out immediately after the introduction of the enteral catheter, using only the epigastric window, with an injection of 5 ml of air associated with 5 ml of saline solution. In all cases, the plain radiography was taken to confirm the positioning of the enteral catheter and to define the beginning of nutritional therapy.

Results: This study included 83 patients, the positioning of the enteral catheter was confirmed by plain radiography in all cases and by ultrasound in 81 (97.6%) patients. The median duration of the ultrasound exam was 2 (2-3) minutes, while the time spent between the request for the X-ray and the release of the exam for a doctor’s appointment was 225 (120-330) minutes.

Conclusion: Bedside ultrasound proved to be an effective, quick, and safe method to confirm the position of the enteral catheter in critically ill patients.


enteral nutrition; ultrasound; gastrointestinal intubation; nasoenteral catheter

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-4392


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