Enteral feeding is desirable when the gastrointestinal tract is functional because it allows better use of nutrients, is safer, and is more cost-effective than parenteral nutrition.
Feeding through a gastric tube, however, is often not feasible in severely ill adults and children because of gastric paresis leading to recurrent episodes of gastroesophageal reflux with the risk of subsequent aspiration. Feeding into the small intestine (duodenum or jejunum) through a nasointestinal tube, therefore, is preferred. Unfortunately, no method of enteral feeding is risk free. This literature review addresses the following 10 topics: (a) the reasons why nasointestinal tube feeding is better tolerated by some patients, (b) candidates for nasointestinal tube feeding, © options for selecting nasointestinal tubes, (d) recommended methods for predicting the distance to insert nasointestinal tubes, (e) recommended methods for placing nasointestinal tubes, (f) how promotility medications work and whether they facilitate nasointestinal tube placement, (g) nasointestinal tube placement error rate, (h) methods of determining the internal location of nasointestinal tubes, (i) complications associated with nasointestinal tube use, and (j) other pertinent issues surrounding feeding through nasointestinal tubes 1).