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Dobhoff feeding tubes are often necessary for people who have swallowing disorders to maintain necessary nutrition. They may also be used during and shortly after surgical procedures to avoid vomiting and aspiration of stomach contents.


A Dobhoff feeding tube is a nasogastric tube that is inserted into the nose and through the esophagus down into the stomach. It is then secured to the nose with tape to avoid slipping out of the stomach and into the lungs.


Dobhoff feeding tubes are used to deliver medicine, fluids, vitamins, and food. Use is usually temporary during a hospitalization, during a surgical procedure, and during extreme episodes of nausea. However, people who have swallowing disorders might need them for a prolonged period or permanently.


A health-care professional, usually a nurse, will place your Dobhoff feeding tube. She will measure the proper length for the tube and immediately will use a permanent marker to mark it where it will exit the nose, to aid in visual verification of proper placement. It will be lubricated and quickly inserted until it is in the stomach. She will withdraw a sample of your stomach fluid to ensure that the tube has passed into your stomach, and not into your lungs by accident.


When caring for your Dobhoff feeding tube, always wash your hands before cleaning and before administering fluids. Remove the tape while securing the tube in place, and wash the skin underneath with soap and water. Dry the skin thoroughly before applying new tape. Check inside the nostril for redness, swelling or developing sores. A very minute amount of Vaseline is safe to put into the nostril to prevent and treat irritation. Flush the tube with 30 mL of water every 8 hours to prevent blockages.


If the line measuring the end of the tube moves farther into the nostril or farther out of the nostril, discontinue use of the tube and contact the medical provider immediately. Such movement might indicate that the tube is no longer in the stomach and will have to be checked for placement before continued use. If fluids will not pass through the tube, it could be blocked. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also signs of a blocked tube. This also requires immediate medical assistance. A nurse or physician might be able to clear the blockage without having to place a new tube.