Aspiration of a dislodged endotracheal tube: a rare cause of acute total airway obstruction

Chang Gung Med J. 2003 Jul;26(7):515-9.


We report an unusual cause of acute total airway obstruction after aspiration of a dislodged tube that was separated from its metallic connector. A 5-year-old boy had an emergence agitation and bucking to the endotracheal tube with a vigorous bite before extubation of the trachea. The whole uncuffed endotracheal tube was aspirated deep into the lower trachea causing laryngotracheal obstruction. The patient showed sudden oxygen desaturation and was then in an immediate life-threatening airway obstruction. We could not rescue oxygenation and were unable to establish a patent airway. Mask ventilation failed to relieve the progressive of hypoxemia. Immediate extraction of the tube using a pair of Magill's forceps before irreversible exacerbation was performed. We discuss our experience and the importance of prompt decision making and management for the extraction of the dislodged tube.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergencies
  • Equipment Failure
  • Humans
  • Inhalation*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Male