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Cephalad movement of endotracheal tubes caused by prone positioning pediatric patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome

Marcano, Brenda V. MD; Silver, Peter MD, FCCM; Sagy, Mayer MD, FCCM

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine:
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Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that prone positioning of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome results in significant cephalad movement of their endotracheal tubes (ETT).

Design: A retrospective review of chest radiographs and patient information.

Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit of a children’s hospital.

Measurements and Main Results: Patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome had digital chest radiographs performed before and immediately after prone positioning as per our routine practice. Based on measurements of the length of the thoracic trachea and the length of the thoracic segment of the ETT, the movement of the ETT subsequent to prone positioning was calculated. Fifteen pairs of radiographs of 14 consecutive patients were evaluated. There were seven girls and seven boys, with ages ranging from 2 months to 18 yrs. All patients had a cephalad movement of their ETT ranging from 10% to 57% of their thoracic tracheal length (p < .001) associated with prone positioning. The mean amplitude of this movement was 34% ± 16%, indicating that if the tip of the ETT is not deeper than one third of the thoracic tracheal length before prone positioning, it might slide into the cervical trachea as a result of this procedure.

Conclusions: Prone positioning results in cephalad movement of ETT within the trachea. The tip of the ETT should be deeper than one third of the total length of the thoracic trachea before prone positioning to prevent it from moving into the cervical trachea. When prone positioning is done with an ETT originally not deeper than one third of the thoracic trachea, obtaining a chest radiograph immediately after prone positioning is important to determine whether the ETT remained safely situated in the trachea.

Author Information

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Schneider Children’s Hospital, New Hyde Park, NY (BVM); Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Section Head, Cardiac Intensive Care, Schneider Children’s Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Schneider Children’s Hospital, New Hyde Park, NY (PS); Director, Critical Care Medicine, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Schneider Children’s Hospital of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, NY (MS).

Address requests for reprints to: Brenda V. Marcano, MD, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Schneider Children’s Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New Hyde Park, NY 11040.

Presented, in part, at the 2001 Society of Critical Care Medicine’s 30th International Edu-cational and Scientific Symposium, San Francisco, CA.

©2003The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies