Ingenza and Imperial researchers work together to improve nasogastric feeding tube placement

Published: 11-Nov-2015

Diagnostic assay will help confirm feeding tube placement without misinterpretation

Ingenza has teamed up with clinical scientists at Imperial College London to trial an improved diagnostic assay for confirming nasogastric (NG) tube placement.

Professor George Hanna, director of the National Institute for Health Research Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative London at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which specialises in In Vitro Diagnostics, said: “Correct placement of NG tubes is vital, as accidental insertion of the tube into the lung instead of the gut can have serious consequences.

“The current method for determining correct placement – pH testing of a stomach aspirate, with X-ray confirmation if the results are ambiguous – is prone to misinterpretation, and so we were approached by the Department of Health to look at how this could be avoided.

“We identified the Ingenza solution as an easy-to-implement and low-cost option, providing a highly-specific and sensitive test with the potential to reduce the number of expensive chest X-rays.”

Ingenza’s simple diagnostic assay is based on detecting the activity of human gastric lipase (HGL), a stomach-specific biomarker. By impregnating a modified pH paper with a chemical ester substrate, this test has the potential to be more accurate than currently available alternatives.

Professor Hanna said: “The real strength of this approach is that it does not change the current pathway; it simply replaces one test strip with another. We performed a small pilot study on 38 consecutive patients requiring an NG tube, and the Ingenza assay accurately confirmed placement in every case. We are now developing the test further – with funding from Innovate UK – to provide a simple ‘yes/no’ result, and will conduct a larger study to look at human factors and the cost effectiveness of the test on a larger scale.”

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