Nasogastric (NG) feeding tubes are long, small diameter, flexible plastic tubes used to deliver nutritional therapies to patients who cannot eat or swallow on their own. NG tubes are typically inserted at the bedside through a patient’s nose, and are advanced until the distal tip of the NG tube is inside their stomach, well below their diaphragm.
However, patient anatomy allows the tip of the NG tube to be placed into a lung, or curl up and remain in the patient’s esophagus. If liquid nutritional supplements are delivered into a misplaced NG tube, the supplement can collect in the lungs, leading to severe complications. Post-insertion radiographic imaging and assessment by a radiologist is often required to confirm the NG tube’s safe placement, prior to its use. And, because patients will often pull on their NG tubes, which can reposition the tip, reconfirmation of safe placement must be performed prior to tube feeding.
In collaboration with the Ross Nutrition division of Abott Labs, Lucent designed an integrated electronic sensor and display system, the TPV® , which during NG tube placement, tracks and displays the location and orientation of small permanent magnets attached to the distal end of the NG tube.
The TPV allowed the clinician to confirm that the tip of the NG tube was safely below a patient’s diaphragm during bedside placement. Lucent was responsible for the entire TPV development cycle, including electronic, mechanical, and industrial design, software and user interface, prototype builds, testing, and validation, and first lot manufacturing. However, at the conclusion of development, Lucent’s partner for the TPV elected to not proceed with its commercialization.
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