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Kris Knaus, Joseph Yetto

ET tubes are commonly placed for pulmonary ventilation, to protect the airway, and for patients with chest trauma. Normally the tip of the ET tube should be 5-7 cm above the carina - roughly between the T5-6 and T6-7 intervertebral discs. The balloon cuff - which seals the airway to allow lung inflation - should be less than 1.5 X the trachea diameter, to avoid causing tracheomalacia. Complications of ET tubes include intubation of either main-stem bronchi (tube too low), esophageal intubation, over-inflation of the balloon, and barotrauma causing pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and subcutaneous emphysema.

Credit is given to:

Kris Knaus, MD., Joseph Yetto MD & James Smirniotopoulos for MedPix® Teaching Files