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Gastric suction
Definition Emptying of the stomach content for analysis or removing of irritating elements such as poisons.
Alternative Names Gastric lavage; Stomach pumping
How the test is performed A tube is placed via the nose or mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. Sometimes a topical anesthetic may be applied to minimize irritation and gagging as the tube is being placed. After placement, stomach contents are removed (using suction) either immediately or after irrigating water through the tube.
How to prepare for the test When gastric suction is performed in an emergent setting of an ingested overdose or poison, or in the evaluation of the vomiting of blood no preparation is needed. When it is done for the analysis of gastric acid, your physician may require you to fast overnight or stop certain medications.
How the test will feel You may feel a gagging sensation as the tube is passed.
Why the test is performed This test may be performed for several different reasons, such as:
  • To remove poisons, toxic substances, or overdosed medications from the stomach
  • To irrigate and clean the stomach prior to performing an upper endoscopy (EGD) in someone who has been vomiting blood
  • To collect stomach acid contents for further analysis
  • To provide relief and decompression in someone with intestinal obstruction
  • Normal Values 
    What abnormal results mean 
    What the risks are There is a very small risk of the tube being accidentally placed into the airway (or lungs). There is also a small risk of aspirating gastric contents, perforation, and minor bleeding.
    Special considerations 

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