Early detection of accidental endobronchial intubation (EBI) is still an unsolved problem in anesthesia and critical care daily practice. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of monitoring above cuff CO2 to detect EBI (the working hypothesis was that the origin of CO2 is from the unventilated, but still perfused, lung). Six goats were intubated under general anesthesia and the ETT positioning was verified by a flexible bronchoscope. The AnapnoGuard system, already successfully used to detect air leak around the ETT cuff, was used for continuous monitoring of above-the-cuff CO2 level. When the ETT distal tip was located in the trachea, with an average cuff pressure of 15 mmHg, absence of CO2 above the cuff was observed. The ETT was then deliberately advanced into one of the main bronchi under flexible bronchoscopic vision. In all six cases the immediate presence of CO2 above the cuff was identified. Further automatic inflation of the cuff, up to a level of 27 mmHg, did not affect the above-the-cuff measured CO2 level. Withdrawal of the ETT and repositioning of its distal tip in mid-trachea caused the disappearance of CO2 above the cuff in a maximum of 3 min, confirming the absence of air leak and the correct positioning of the ETT. Our results suggest that measurement of the above-the-cuff CO2 level could offer a reliable, on-line solution for early identification of accidental EBI. Further studies are planned to validate the efficacy of the method in a clinical setup.
- Endotracheal tube
- One lung