Year : 2021  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 403-408

Endotracheal tube cuff position in relation to the cricoid in children: A retrospective computed tomography-based analysis

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar
2 Department of Radiology, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar
3 Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
4 Department of Pediatrics, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

Correspondence Address:
Joseph D Tobias
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio – 43205
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_396_21

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Background: The use of cuffed endotracheal tubes (ETT) has become the standard of care in pediatric practice. The rationale for the use of a cuffed ETT is to minimize pressure around the cricoid while providing an effective airway seal. However, safe care requires that the cuff lie distal to the cricoid ring following endotracheal intubation. The current study demonstrates the capability of computed tomography (CT) imaging in identifying the position of the cuff of the ETT in intubated patients. Methods: In this retrospective study, the ETT cuff position was examined on the sagittal plane images of neck and chest CT scans of 44 children. The position of the proximal and the distal aspect of the ETT cuff inside the trachea was recorded in relation to the vertebral levels. The vertebral levels were used to estimate the location of the cricoid ring and its relationship to the cuff. Results: The vertebrae were used as the primary landmarks to define the position of the cricoid and its relationship to the cuff of the ETT. Correlating vertebral levels with the cricoid for different age groups, the proximal (cephalad) edge of the ETT cuff was below the cricoid in 41 of 44 patients (93%). The ETT cuff was deep in 6 patients, below the 1st thoracic vertebra, with 2 ETTs in the right mainstem bronchus. Conclusion: This is the first study demonstrating that the cuff of the ETT and its position in the trachea can be identified on CT imaging in children. The ETT cuff was below the level of the cricoid in the majority of patients irrespective of the patient's age as well as the size, make, and type of ETT.

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