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Discharge Instructions: Checking Placement of Feeding Tube

You are going home with a 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. This sheet helps you remember those steps when you are at home. Be sure you have the telephone number of your doctor or caregiver easily available 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 or out of your stomach (this depends on the type of tube you have). 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) or abdomen (stomach 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 doctor

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

  • Choking — call 911 right away

  • Trouble breathing during feeding, flushing, or giving medication

  • Tube that can’t be unclogged

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

  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 loose stools

  • Constipation that lasts more than 48 hours

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Fever of 101.5°F (38.5°C) or higher, or chills

  • Bloody or coffee-colored drainage through tube

  • 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, maintain upright position — do not lie down):

    • Coughing

    • Feeding formula in your saliva

    • Problems catching your breath


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