Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Q: Why do we use sterile water to flush NG tubes? Why can't we use bottled or tap water?
A: Bottled or tap water is only indicated for hydration in healthy patients who are not immunocompromised. Acutely ill patients or those with chronic conditions that have any alterations to the GI tract are vulnerable to nosocomial infections from non-sterile products including water. This also holds true for patients who are immunocompromised but not acutely ill. Because tap water contains metals, medications should only be diluted in sterile water to prevent reduction of bioavailability. Tap water also has the potential to be a source of contamination when reconstituting formula. Filtration of water may be beneficial but still poses a risk for contamination. Sterile water is solute-free and free of chemical or microbial contaminants; therefore, it is the only type of water that should be used to flush NG tubes, dilute medications and reconstitute formula.
response written by Kathleen Pentecost, SRN CBU, BA Sociology & Carla I. Morales, SRN CBU, BS Psychobiology
Bankhead, R., Boullata, B.S., Corkins, M., Guenter, P., Krenitsky, J., Lyman, B., et al. (2009) A.S.P.E.N. Enteral nutrition practice recommendations. Journal of Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition, 33, 122-69.
Posted by Danielle Linden, MLIS, AHIP at 11:53 AM