Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/Side Effects of Nasogastric Tube

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Question
A few months ago I attempted suicide through poisoning. I was brought to the hospital, had my stomach pumped and activated charcoal. I found the nasal tubing to be extremely painful. Initially when they inserted the tube I found myself gasping for air, gagging, vomiting and I had a lot of trouble talking. Essentially my talking was a hoarse croak. They did not use numbing agents or anesthesia during the procedure. I also found I was gasping for air, and my attempts to breathe were loud. After they pumped my stomach they removed the tube and reinserted it. I suspect they might have been worried about my continued gasping for air, although it seems that the stomach pumping prior to activated charcoal had been successful. I have tried to find mention of side effects online, but have not seen listed side effects of trouble speaking or breathing with a successful nasogastric tube. My throat remained extremely hoarse and I had trouble speaking  and painful swallowing for approximately 10 days after the procedure. I am trying to find out what happened, and why I might have reacted that way to the tube.

Answer
the ng tube will not damage the vocal cords if it goes directly in to the esophagus.... but while passing the tube, it can inadvertently hit the vocal cords.  Also, you didn't say what you tried to kill yourself with, but the agent you used might have damaged that area.... lye causes bad damage.  The vomiting can also damage that area.  It usually heals, but these procedures often leave someone with those side effects as that tissue heals.  

Fortunately, the procedure helped you, and it sounds like the side effects faded away......

Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions

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Robert Borucki

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