The esophagus connects the mouth with the stomach. The epiglottis folds over the trachea when a swallow occurs to prevent the swallowed substance from being inhaled into the lungs. When a person is unable to swallow because of illness or coma, a tube may be inserted either through the mouth or nose, past the epiglottis, into the esophagus to the stomach. Nutrients will pass through the tube directly into the stomach.
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