The placement and maintenance of temporary feeding tubes is an inexact science. Feeding the gastrointestinal system of neonates and/or infants, when functional, is optimal to maximize positive outcomes. Medical literature show feeding tubes were misplaced either above or below the diaphragm up to 55.6%, and approximately 2-4% were placed in the pulmonary system in the neonatal population. Feeding tube errors in this fragile population has not been studied as the direct cause of increased morbidity or mortality because of the severity of many neonates primary illness but feeding tube errors have been the direct cause of neonates and/or infants prolonged hospital stays and increasing health care costs. Evidence Based Practice (EBP) has recommended taking an X-ray after tube placement and for ongoing placement confirmation as the “gold standard” for feeding tube location verification. This “standard” creates debate and reluctance in the medical community because of the radiation exposure and cost in neonatal and pediatric care centers.
SurTube™ is a nonradiographic system of differentiating the respiratory, gastric, small bowel or esophageal location of a feeding tube when placed in a patient. Using an optical method, the SurTube™ system allows the feeding tube to be located during placement and maintenance checks to ensure correct placement or information to manipulate an incorrect placement without exposing the patient to repeated harmful x-rays and decreasing the number of feeding tube adverse events due to misplacement.
This project is funded by APDC. When the project joined the consortium the device was in the prototype stage of development.