The pH of feeding tube aspirates from critically ill infants

Kathleen L. Meert, Mary Caverly, Lauren M. Kelm, Norma A. Metheny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The extent to which gastric acid inhibitors and feedings affect gastric pH in infants is unclear. Objectives: To compare pH values of gastric aspirates from infants according to use or no use of gastric acid inhibitors and feedings. Methods: Colorimetric pH tests were used to measure the pH of aspirates from feeding tubes in 54 critically ill infants; 29 of the gastric aspirates were from infants who did not receive acid inhibitors or feedings, 13 were from infants who received acid inhibitors but no feedings, 3 were from infants who received feedings but no acid inhibitors, and 5 were from infants who received both acid inhibitors and feedings. The remaining 4 feeding tubes were in nongastric sites. Results: Individual pH readings of 5.5 or less were found in 97% of the gastric aspirates from infants with no recent feedings or acid inhibitors, 77% of the gastric aspirates from infants who received acid inhibitors, and 67% of the gastric aspirates from infants with recent feedings. Among 2 esophageal aspirates and 2 duodenal aspirates, 1 of each type had a pH less than 5.5. A pH cut point of 5.5 or less did not rule out esophageal or duodenal placement. Conclusions: The pH of gastric aspirates from critically ill infants is often 5.5 or less, regardless of the use of acid inhibitors, feedings, or both. Most likely a cut point of 5.5 or less would rule out respiratory placement because tracheal pH is typically 6.0 or higher.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e72-e77
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

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