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New NG tube addresses aspiration risk

Pulmonary aspiration, along with symptomatic gastric reflux, is a common clinical challenge in intubated patients on a feeding tube, but a novel nasogastric (NG) tube equipped with a dual balloon system is designed to solve this problem, according to Talal Sharaiha, MD, the founder of Aspisafe Solutions. He said that reducing the risk of aspiration is important because it is associated with pneumonia, erosive inflammation, and upper GI bleeding. He called it the most common cause of upper GI bleeding in intensive care units.

Of the two balloons, one serves as an anchor and sits in the esophagus. The other serves as an anti-aspiration reservoir and sits in the stomach. The anti-aspiration balloon, inflated after it is inserted in the stomach, blocks reflux of gastric contents. Contending that there is a large market for this device, Dr. Sharaiha said, “having a feeding tube in intubated patients that prevents gastric reflux and aspiration will dramatically reduce complications and likely help reduce length of ventilation time, ICU time, and length of hospitals stay.”

More than one Shark requested more information about safety. Michael L. Kochman, MD, the Wilmott Professor of Medicine and director of the Center for Endoscopic Innovation, Research and Training at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, noted that there have been adverse experiences in the past with other types of balloon devices introduced into the GI tract. He indicated that this may be a potential bar to clinician comfort, so a comprehensive approach to safety analyses should be a priority in clinical development.

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