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Common Types Of Adult Nasogastric Tubes (NGTs)

As an anesthesiologist, I’ve placed nasogastric/orogastric tubes (NGTs/OGTs) in patients who will remain intubated post-operatively to decompress the stomach and to provide a short-term enteral route of administration while the patient remains on mechanical ventilation. As an intensivist, I more commonly place NGTs to deliver nutrition (ie, tube feeds) and medications in patients with impaired swallowing (a complex mechanism!)

The Salem-Sump is a relatively large bore (10 – 18 French) dual lumen tube which permits suctioning of gastric contents as well as medication/nutrition delivery. One port allows for wall-suction drainage or administration of therapy (often facilitated with a Lopez valve), while the other port is the sump vent which equalizes gastric and atmospheric pressure (do NOT apply suction to this).

In comparison, traditional small bore feeding tubes (SBFT, ie Corpak) and Dobhoff tubes (named for the two physicians who created it – Drs. DOBbie and HOFFmeister) are smaller and more flexible permitting a greater degree of comfort for the patient. These tubes contain an inner stylet which facilitates placement and is removed prior to usage. Due to the much more pliable material and smaller lumens, these tubes aren’t designed for suctioning and should only be used for administration of tube feeds/medications.

Drop me a comment below with your experience regarding NGTs!

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4 Comments

  1. I love the information you are sharing. I am currently an Nursing Instructor and recently left the bedside. What is very interesting is the gaps in best practice for which tubes to use for nutrition and meds, placement of small bore tubes ie post pyloric or gastric, checking placement of tubes after the initial x-ray verification.
    Policy at hospitals is very different than what is taught in school. If you have any suggestions on studies, literature trials that would assist in closing this gap I would love to hear about them. Thanks so much!

  2. What are the normal parameters for the wall section to be set to for the pt on the Salem sump? Thank you!

    1. I don’t know what is considered “normal”, but for the most part, I have patients on low-intermittent suction in the ICU. I consider “low” to be ~40 mmHg.

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