[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
The placement of endotracheal tubes in the airway, particularly through the nose, can cause trauma. Their design might be an important etiologic factor, but they have changed little since their introduction. Recently Parker Medical (Bridgewater, Conn) introduced the Parker Flex-Tip (PFT) tube, suggesting that it causes less trauma. This study aimed to compare the PFT endotracheal tube to a side-beveled, standard-tip endotracheal tube (ETT) for nasotracheal intubation (Figures 1 and 2). Forty consecutive oral surgery patients requiring nasotracheal intubation were randomized to receive either a standard ETT or the PFT tube. Intubations were recorded using a fiber-optic camera positioned proximal to the Murphy eye of the tube. This allowed visualization of the path and action of the tube tip as it traversed the nasal, pharyngeal, laryngeal, and tracheal airway regions. Video recordings made during intubation and extubation were evaluated for bleeding, trauma, and intubation time. Both bleeding and trauma were recorded using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and by 3 different evaluators. The PFT received significantly better VAS values than the standard tubes from all 3 raters (P < 0.05) in both the extent of trauma and bleeding. Since the intubations were purposefully conducted slowly for photographic reasons, neither tube displayed a time advantage. This study suggests that the PFT tube design may be safer by causing less trauma and bleeding than standard tube designs for nasotracheal intubation.