Ultrasound assessment of endotracheal tube depth in neonates: A prospective feasibility study

Orly Levkovitz*, Dana Schujovitzky, Rodica Stackievicz, Pierre Fayoux, Iris Morag, Ita Litmanovitz, Shmuel Arnon, Sofia Bauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To examine the reliability of a novel ultrasound (US) method for assessment of endotracheal tube (ETT) position in neonates. Design Prospective, observational, single-centre, feasibility study. Setting Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Patients Term and preterm neonates requiring endotracheal intubation. Intervention US measurement of the ETT tip to right pulmonary artery (RPA) distance was used to determine ETT position according to one-fourth to three-fourths estimated tracheal length for weight. US demonstration of pleural sliding and diaphragmatic movement was also assessed. Chest radiography (CXR) was performed following each intubation. Main outcome measures Agreement between US assessment of ETT tip position and CXR served as the gold standard. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for each US method and correlation between ETT tip to RPA distance on US, and ETT tip to carina distance on CXR were assessed. Results Forty-two US studies were performed on 33 intubated neonates. US evaluation of ETT-RPA distance identified 100% of ETTs positioned correctly: 77% deep and 80% high, demonstrating strong agreement with CXR (kappa=0.822). Sensitivity was 78%, specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100% and negative predictive value 86%. US ETT-RPA distance strongly correlated with CXR ETT-carina distance (r=0.826). No significant agreement was found between CXR and US assessment of pleural sliding and diaphragmatic movement. No adverse events were encountered during US scans. Conclusion US evaluation of ETT-RPA distance demonstrated excellent accuracy for determining ETT position in neonates compared with CXR. More research is needed to support its feasibility in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F94-F99
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Neonatology
  • Respiratory Medicine


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