Medically the review by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — written by Kiara Anthony — to update on September 18, 2018

What is a Sengstaken-Blakemore tube?

The Sengstaken-Blakemore (SB)tube is a red tube provided to stop or slow-moving bleeding from the esophagus and also stomach. The bleeding is frequently caused through gastric or esophageal varices, which are veins that have swollen from obstructed blood flow. A sports of the SB tube, called the Minnesota tube, can also be offered to decompress or drainpipe the stomach to protect against insertion of a second tube referred to as a nasogastric tube.

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The SB tube has three ports in ~ one end, each with a various function:

esophageal balloon port, i m sorry inflates a little balloon in the esophagusgastric aspiration port, which clears fluid and also air out of the stomachgastric balloon port, i beg your pardon inflates a balloon in the stomach

At the other end of the SB tube space two balloons. When inflated, these balloons put pressure on the locations that space bleeding to protect against blood flow. The pipe is frequently inserted through the mouth, yet it can additionally be inserted through the sleep to reach the stomach. Physicians will remove it once the bleeding has stopped.


The SB tube is provided as an emergency method to manage bleeding native swollen esophageal veins. Esophageal and also gastric veins regularly swell from portal hypertension or vascular congestion. The more the veins swell, the much more likely the veins will rupture, causing too much bleeding or shock from losing too lot blood. If left untreated or treated too late, too much blood lose can cause death.

Before picking to usage the SB tube, doctors will exhaust all other measures to sluggish or avoid bleeding. This techniques might include endoscopic variceal banding and also glue injections. If a medical professional chooses to usage the SB tube, the will occupational only temporarily.

In the complying with cases, medical professionals advise against using the SB tube:

Variceal bleeding stop or slowly down.The patience recently had actually surgery entailing the stomach or stomach muscles.

A doctor deserve to insert the SB tube through the nose, yet it’s more likely come be placed through the mouth. Before inserting the tube, you would generally be intubated and mechanically ventilated to manage your breathing. You’re likewise given IV fluids to maintain blood circulation and volume.

The medical professional then checks for air leaks in the esophageal and also gastric balloons found at the end of the tube. To carry out this, they inflate the balloons and place them in water. If there space no air leaks, the balloons will certainly be deflated.

The doctor also needs to insert a Salem sump pipe for this procedure to drain the stomach.

The doctor steps these 2 tubes to ensure specific placement in the stomach. First, the SB tube have to be correctly positioned in the stomach. They following measure the Salem sump tube against the SB tube and mark it at the desired point.

After measuring, the SB tube should be lubricated to lull the insertion process. The pipe is placed until the note made through the doctor is at your gums or opening of her mouth.

To ensure the tube reaches your stomach, the doctor inflates the gastric balloon through a little amount of air. Lock then use an X-ray to confirm suitable placement. If the inflated balloon is positioned effectively in the stomach, they inflate that with additional air to with the desired pressure.

Once castle insert the SB tube, the physician connects it come a weight for traction. The included resistance may cause the pipe to stretch. In this case, they require to mark the brand-new point where the tube pipeline your mouth. The doctor likewise needs to traction the pipe gently until they feel resistance. This shows the balloon is properly inflated and applying press to the bleeding.

After feeling resistance and also measuring the SB tube, the medical professional inserts the Salem sump tube. Both the SB tube and the Salem sump tube are secured after placement to prevent movement.

The doctor uses suction to the SB aspiration port and also the Salem sump to remove any type of blood clots. If bleeding continues, lock may increase the inflation pressure. It’s important not come overinflate the esophageal balloon therefore it doesn’t pop.

Once the bleeding has stopped, the medical professional performs these procedures to remove the SB tube:

Deflate the esophageal balloon.Remove traction native the SB tube.Deflate the gastric balloon.Remove the SB tube.

There room a couple of risks associated with using the SB tube. You deserve to expect some discomfort from the procedure, specifically a sore neck if the tube was put through the mouth. If put incorrectly, the SB tube can influence your capability to breathe.

Other symptom from erroneously positioning this tube or ruptured balloons include:

painrecurrent bleedingmucosal ulceration, or ulcers that type on mucous membranesacute laryngeal obstruction, or a blockage in your airways the restricts oxygen intake

An SB pipe is a an equipment used to prevent bleeding in your esophagus and stomach. It’s generally used in emergency situations and only for quick periods of time. This and similar endoscopic procedures have actually a high success rate.

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If you have questions about this procedure or have actually experienced complications, comment on your comes to with a doctor.


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Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — created by Kiara Anthony — to update on September 18, 2018