Preliminary Diagnosis: Nasogastric tube placement

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis?

  • Plain radiography

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis.

  • Relatively inexpensive and fast imaging modalities

  • Highly portable imaging modalities.

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  • Highly sensitive and specific in localizing nasogastric tubes

  • Expose patients to minimal ionizing radiation

  • May be less specific in localizing the distal tip of the nasogastric tube in patients with complicated anatomy, ie, postsurgical

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

  • No specific contraindications to plain radiography exist. Some institutions may require consent for pregnant patients.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • CT imaging without contrast

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis.

CT imaging without contrast
  • May be helpful in localizing and identifying the nasogastric tube placement in patients with complex anatomy

  • Exposes patients to ionizing radiation

  • More expensive than plain films

  • Less portable

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

CT imaging without contrast
  • May be contraindicated in pregnant patients.