Discharge Instructions: Checking Placement of Nasogastric (NG) Feeding Tube

You are going home with a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube in place. You will need to check the tube regularly to make sure the tip of the tube stays in your stomach. You were shown how to care for your tube in the hospital. These tubes are used short term, especially in adults. Tubes are put directly into the stomach. Or they are put into the small intestine if longer access is needed. Examples are a G tube, PEG tube, or PEJ tube. This sheet helps you remember how to care for your tube when you are at home. Keep the phone number of your healthcare provider or caregiver handy in case you have any questions or problems. 

Home care

  • Gather your supplies:

    • Permanent marker pen

    • Measuring tape or ruler

    • 50 mL syringe for use in flushing the tube and possibly for feedings 

  • Check placement of your tube once every day.

  • Look for the mark on your tube at the place where it comes out of your nose. If there is no mark, make one.

  • Look to see that the mark you made on the tube is still in the same place each time you check placement.

  • Measure the length of the tube from your nose (nasal tube) to the end of the tube. If it’s not the same length as it was the day before, your tube may not be in the right place.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing during feeding, flushing, or giving medicine

  • Tube that can’t be unclogged

  • Tube that falls out or difficulty telling whether your tube is in your stomach

  • Tube that is cracked or breaking down 

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 loose stools

  • Constipation that lasts more than 48 hours

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Red, warm, or tender skin around the tube

  • Sudden weight loss or gain (more than 2 pounds in 24 hours)

  • Bloated or tight stomach

  • Signs tube is not in right place. If these occur, stay in an upright position. Don't lie down:

    • Coughing

    • Feeding formula in your saliva

    • Problems catching your breath

Call 911

Call 911 right away if any of the following occur:

  • Choking, dizziness, or lightheadedness

  • Blood or drainage that looks like coffee grounds

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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