Project Title: Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System

Xeridiem logoTeam 16010 Members:
Kevin Brinkman, biomedical engineering
Sandra Araiza Cruz, biomedical engineering
Dalton Hughes, electrical and computer engineering (team lead)
Fermin Prieto, biomedical engineering
Alex Thompson, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Xeridiem

Life-Threatening Problem

Every year, an estimated 5,000 Americans die from complications caused by misplacement of nasogastric and orogastric tubes, which deliver nutrition and medication into the stomachs of patients who are unable to chew or swallow.

Health care providers and caregivers commonly place tubes blindly then verify placement by drawing fluid out of the stomach, injecting air into the stomach and listening with a stethoscope, or, in hospital settings, using X-rays. Lung injuries and other serious complications can arise when a tube is misplaced or migrates out of the stomach.

Big Shoes to Fill in 2017

Team 16010 is continuing the work of last year’s Xeridiem-sponsored team, which developed a system that gives instant feedback on feeding tube placement.

The 2016 team won two first-prize awards at the University of Arizona’s Engineering Design Day and presented the device at the annual Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Team leader Summer Garland is now employed by Xeridiem.

Team 16010 members, from left to right, Kevin Brinkman, Sandra Araiza Cruz, Fermin PrietoSimple, Effective Solution

Team 16010 is using the stomach’s specific acid pH ranges – between 1.5 and 3.5 – to make the device’s sensor more sensitive and eliminate the possibility of false positive results, such as those triggered by saliva.

“You’d think it would have been done a long time ago,” said Kevin Brinkman, working alongside other students over the winter break to improve the device.

The goal, said teammate Fermin Prieto, is to make tube placement and verification so easy that “caregivers can do it at home.”