A Ryle’s tube is a thin, flexible tube made of rubber or plastic, typically ranging from 100 to 120 centimeters (about 40 to 47 inches) in length. It is inserted through one of the nostrils, down the back of the throat, and into the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
- Length Markings: The tube often has markings along its length to indicate how far it has been inserted into the body, ensuring accurate placement.
- Side Ports: Some Ryle’s tubes have side ports near the tip to facilitate various functions, such as gastric decompression or administering medications.
- Stylet: Some tubes come with a removable stylet (a stiff wire) that helps guide the tube during insertion.
- Gastric Decompression: Ryle’s tubes are commonly used for gastric decompression, which involves removing excess air, fluids, or stomach contents to relieve gastrointestinal obstruction or distention. This can be helpful in conditions like bowel obstruction, paralytic ileus, or gastric dilation.
- Feeding: Ryle’s tubes can be used for enteral feeding when a patient is unable to consume food orally. Liquid nutrition can be delivered through the tube directly into the stomach or duodenum, ensuring the patient receives essential nutrients.
- Medication Administration: In some situations, medications may be administered through the Ryle’s tube when the patient cannot take them orally or if they need to bypass the stomach.
- Gastric Lavage: Ryle’s tubes can be used for gastric lavage, a procedure in which the stomach is washed out with a saline solution or activated charcoal to remove ingested toxins or substances.
- Diagnostic Purposes: Occasionally, Ryle’s tubes may be used to collect stomach contents for diagnostic testing, such as assessing gastric acid levels or identifying blood in the stomach.