Published: May 16, 2007
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
What is an enteral tube?
An enteral tube is a tube that is placed through the nose and into the stomach or the small bowel to decompress the stomach, or to assist with feeding and to provide nutrition. There are three types of enteral tubes: nasogastric, nasoduodenal, and nasojejunal, depending on where the tube ends: in the stomach, the duodenum, or the jejunum.
Why is it ordered?
An enteral tube is placed for the patient who is unable to take in enough food or drink through the mouth to maintain body weight. Nasogastric (NG) tubes are usually placed for a short period of time. They can be used to remove gastric secretions, prevent abdominal bloating and vomiting, and to provide a way for feedings and medication administration.
A nasoduodenal (ND) or nasojejunal (NJ) tube may be placed for those who have trouble digesting food or who aspirate food or drink into the lungs. They are also used for patients with pancreatic diseases who need to be fed into the small bowel directly. ND and NJ tubes may not be used for all medicines and may require a pump for feedings.
What should my health care professional know before I have this procedure done?
Do I need anything to get ready for the procedure?
Where is this done?
Most NG tubes are placed at the bedside.
Nasoduodenal and nasojejunal tubes may be placed in the:
What is involved in placing an enteral tube?
A nasogastric tube or an NG tube is placed through the nose and into the stomach. Most are placed at the bedside by a nurse, doctor, or another health care provider. You will be in a sitting position during placement. Sedation is not usually given. The end of the tube will be lubricated to ease insertion.
You will be asked to extend and flex your neck and to swallow to help with passage of the tube. It will be a little uncomfortable at first, but only for a few minutes while the tube is being passed. The tube will be checked to make sure it is in the right place then the tube will be taped in placed. The NG tube can be used immediately after placement is confirmed.
Nasodoudenal (ND) or nasojejunal(NJ) tubes are other types of enteral tubes. Sometimes these tubes are called Dubhoff®, Corpak® or Entriflex® tubes. The procedure varies, depending on where the tube is inserted. Your tube will be inserted in:
Is the procedure painful?
During insertion of the NG tube, you may have some mild discomfort and bloating. The tube may be a little irritating to your throat at first, but usually goes away quickly.
When nasoduodenal and nasojejunal tube are inserted using endoscopy, you will be given medication throughout the procedure, so you should be very comfortable. When nasoduodenal and nasojejunal tubes are inserted with endoscopy, numbing medicine is used in the nose to reduce discomfort.
What are the risks of the procedure?
What happens after the procedure?
The tube will be taped at the nose. If inserted for decompression rather than feeding, it may be attached to a low suction. If you were given sedation, you will be in the recovery room for at least 30 minutes.
Do I need someone to drive me home afterward?
If you are not staying in the hospital and have gotten sedation, then yes. If you are given sedation, you can not drive for 24 hours after the procedure.
When do I need to call the doctor?
Your tube should be ready to use once placement has been confirmed. If you have a problem with your tube, refer to the chart below.
|Fever or chills||Call your doctor for advice.
Go to the Emergency Department or Urgent Care if you cannot reach your doctor.
|Hard abdomen or abdominal pain||Call your doctor for advice.|
|The tube becomes dislodged or clogged (tube will be hard to flush)||Call your doctor for advice. Clogged or dislodged tubes are not usually an emergency but will be replaced as quickly as possible on the next working day.|
This article is intended as a resource for patients receiving their cancer care at Duke University Hospital or Duke Clinic. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your doctor’s instructions differ from the information in this article, please talk with your doctor before making any changes.