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Hospital  >  Departments  >  Critical Care Medicine  >  Navigating the ICU  >  What are all those tubes and machines?  >  What is a naso-gastric tube?

What is a naso-gastric tube?

Hospitalized With Feeding TubeA naso-gastric (NG) tube is a flexible tube that is passed through the nose, and down the throat to reach the stomach. It is used for two purposes:

  • To drain the stomach if it is not working properly, which can sometimes happen after surgery;
  • To provide nourishment (tube feeding) directly into the stomach if the patient cannot eat because of intubation, or cannot safely swallow food.

The tube can be uncomfortable. When it is put in, a spray or gel of numbing medication may be used to decrease discomfort.

Afterwards, sips of water or throat lozenges can be used if the patient is uncomfortable and the ICU team agrees that this approach is safe.

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Location and contact

Critical Care Medicine

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, 
D-wing, 1st floor
room D1 08
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-4522
Fax: 416-480-4999

For information about patients admitted to Sunnybrook's Intensive Care Units, please contact the unit through the hospital switchboard at 416-480-6100