Endotracheal tubes have been used with increasing frequency to avoid the use of tracheostomies in patients with respiratory depression. Use of the tubes seems justified in decreasing patient morbidity when an episode of respiratory depression is transient or when episodes of respiratory failure are unlikely to recur. The use of endotracheal tubes, however, may be associated with certain complications with which the attending physician should be familiar.1-5 This communication describes one such complication, namely, the tendency of some types of endotracheal tubes to collapse and thus obliterate the lumen when the cuff is excessively inflated.
Report of a Case
A 42-year-old woman was admitted to a local hospital with a one-week history of increasing cough, yellow sputum, and dyspnea, all of which were unresponsive to antibiotics. She had had a long-standing cough and exertional dyspnea despite a lower lobectomy on the right side in 1960 for bronchiectasis. On examination,
Dietz GW, Pierce AK, Christensen EE. Endotracheal Tube Compression Demonstrated by Roentgenogram. JAMA. 1968;206(11):2512-2513. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150110060011