An unusual case of endotracheal tube cuff dysfunction.
ABSTRACT We report an unusual case of endotracheal tube obstruction secondary to alteration of the preoperative fasting period. A patient scheduled for coronary artery bypass grafting had been instructed to take nothing by mouth except scheduled medication with sips of water prior to surgery. Induction of anesthesia and tracheal intubation were accomplished without incident. However, ventilation was impaired by a nonfunctional endotracheal tube cuff. Various maneuvers (e.g., inflation and deflation of the cuff and advancement of the tube) were attempted without success. When the tube was removed, we found an adherent mass of chewing gum. The patient's trachea was reintubated, and surgery proceeded uneventfully. We believe that the mass of gum caused enough deviation of the endotracheal tube to impair ventilation. The safety of preoperative gum chewing and liquid ingestion is discussed. Other incidents of anesthetic problems caused by modification of the traditional preoperative fast are highlighted.