One of the indications for nasogastric (NG) tube placement is to instill fluids or medications. This may be saline or water for NG lavages or charcoal. You can manually push fluids into the NG tube via a 60 cc syringe, but this may take a long time for large volumes.




Trick of the Trade #1

Pour fluids into an open-ended syringe


Pull out the plunger from a 60 cc syringe and attach the syringe to the NG tube port. Then pour in the fluids, using the syringe as a funnel. Be careful — be sure that the patient doesn’t feel like gagging or is very nauseous. Vomiting can produce a messy Vesuvius-like eruption!

Trick of the Trade #2

Empty a 1 liter bag of IV fluids. Instill the fluid (in this case – charcoal) using a syringe. Snuggly attach the IV tubing to the NG tube port to infuse the charcoal. Tape may be needed to prevent the juncture from leaking.


Thanks to Dr. Sa’ad Lahri and Dr. Hennie Lategan (Cape Town, South Africa) for this IV bag-NG charcoal idea!


Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD