A tube should be long enough and of sufficient diameter to deliver the feed, medicines and allow aspiration of
stomach contents. At the same time, the tube should be safe and comfortable for the patient. Tubes should be soft but be hard enough to allow easy insertion. Short-term tubes (7-14 days) tend to have thicker walls, whereas long-term tubes (30-60 days) tend to have thinner walls but also a stiffening guide wire for insertion.
Most modern NG tubes are made PVC or polyurethane. PVC is a hardmaterial to which softer plasticizers are added, these dissolve in stomach acid are leached out of the tube leaving it brittle so PVC tubes can only be used short-term.
There is also some concern about the long- term effects of these plasticizers, particularly the pthalates. Polyurethane is naturally soft and thermoplastic (Softens at higher body temperatures).
Smoother surfaces can be made with polyurethane tubes, which eases their insertion. Polyurethanes have very good biocompatibility characteristics and can stay in the body for long periods.
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