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Signa Vitae

Journal of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Validation of tracheal intubation of wire-reinforced endotracheal tube with ultrasonography


Objective. The use of ultrasonography (US) is a new method for verifying the location of the endotracheal tube.

Design. Our study was designed as a paired-data and investigator-blind clinical study for evaluating the effectiveness of US for verification of wire-reinforced endotracheal tube (WR-ETT) placement compared with capnography.

Setting. This study was conducted on 56 patients scheduled for elective surgery under general anesthesia.

Patients. Fifty patients completed the study as 6 were excluded for various reasons.

Intervention. Two different investigators performed the ultrasonography and intubation independently from one another. While investigator 1 attempted to verify the location of the WR-ETT with a portable ultrasonography with sagittal trans-tracheal view, investigator 2 intubated the patient and verified the location of the ETT using capnography.

Measurements. Time for verifying the location of the ETT using both US and capnography was recorded.

Main Results. When the ultrasonography method was compared with capnography for verification of the WR-ETT placement, the results showed 95.75% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The average verification times for endotracheal intubation were 12.78 ± 7.46 s. and 24.44 ± 1.45 s. with US and capnography, respectively (p=0.003).

Conclusion. Our results suggest that ultrasound identification of a WR-ETT within the trachea is a rapid and accurate method for confirmation of tracheal placement. Larger studies are needed before widespread use of this technique.

Key words: endotracheal tube, intubation, ultrasonography, capnography

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Excessive endotracheal tube cuff pressure: Is there any difference between emergency physicians and anesthesiologists?


Introduction. Endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff pressure is not usually measured by manometer and the providers rely on their estimation of cuff pressure by palpating the pilot balloon. In this study, we evaluated the pressure of ETT cuffs inserted by emergency physicians or anesthesiologists, and assessed the accuracy of manual pressure testing in different settings using a standard manometer.
Methods. In this cross sectional study, the cuff pressure of 100 patients in emergency department (ED) and intensive care units (ICU) of two university hospitals was evaluated by using a sensitive and accurate analog standard manometer after insertion of the ETT and checking the pilot balloon by the provider. All measurements were performed by a person who was blinded to the study purpose and an ideal pressure range of 20 to 30 cmH2O was used for analysis.
Results. Emergency physicians (n=58) and anesthesiologists (n=42) performed the intubations. The mean measured cuff pressure in our study was 69.2±29.8 cmH2O (range: 10-120 cmH2O) which was significantly different from the recommended standard value of 25 cmH2O (P<0.0001, one-sample t-test). No difference was found between anesthesiologists and emergency physicians in cuff inflation pressures (Anesthesiologists = 71.1 ± 25.7; Emergency physicians = 67.9±32.6).
Conclusion. Estimation of cuff pressure using palpation techniques is not accurate. In order to prevent adverse effects of cuff overinflation, it is better to recheck the pressure using a manometer, regardless of place, time and the inserter of the endotracheal tube.


Key words: endotracheal tube, cuff pressure, emergency physicians, anesthesiologist

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