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Bedside Methods for Detecting Aspiration in Tube-Fed Patients

Norma A. Metheny; Ray E. Clouse
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: From the School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.,  From the Department of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

Affiliations: From the School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo.,  From the Department of Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.


1997 by the American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 1997;111(3):724-731. doi:10.1378/chest.111.3.724
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Abstract

This literature review compares the efficacy of the two most commonly recommended bedside tests for detecting aspiration in tube-fed patients: (1) adding dye to the formula and observing for its appearance in tracheobronchial secretions, and (2) using glucose oxidase reagent strips to test tracheobronchial secretions for glucose-containing enteral formula. The review also describes potential problems and cost associated with each test. Several studies indicate that the dye method is far less sensitive than the glucose reagent method; further, there are anecdotal reports of potential harm to patients when dye is added to tube feedings. Specificity of the glucose method has been challenged by several authors; also, cost is probably greater with this method.


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