Objective: To design and fabricate crush-proof polyurethane tracheal tubes for the newborn with the lowest resistance, least dead space, and thinnest wall.
Design: Test and evaluation of a novel, low-resistance, and low-dead-space tracheal tube for newborns.
Setting: National Institutes of Health Research Laboratory.
Interventions: The short orotracheal portion of the tracheal tube was fabricated of polyurethane, reinforced with flat nickel-titanium shape-memory alloy (Nitinol) to render the tube crush-proof, of a wall thickness about one half of a standard tracheal tube. To the oral part of the tracheal tube, which is the sole dead-space, we attached a Y piece. We connected to one arm of the Y a nonreinforced (inspiratory) tube of larger internal diameter, and a similar tube (expiratory) to the other.
Measurements and results: The computed air flow resistance, as derived from the pressure/flow curves, is about one half to one third the resistance of a comparable standard tracheal tube at flow rates up to 8 L/min, with a tubing, connector, and adapter dead space three to seven times smaller, depending on the tracheal tube connector piece, the ventilator tube connector piece, and size of the tracheal tube.
Conclusions: The novel tracheal tube design has a resistance to gas flow one half to one third that of a standard tracheal tube and a dead-space volume three to seven times lower, including tubing and connector dead space. In addition, it offers a means for potential accurate, continuous online monitoring of expiratory oxygen and Co(2) concentration and gas flow, in both the inspiratory and the expiratory lines, without contributing to dead-space ventilation or gas flow resistance.