The insecure airway: a comparison of knots and commercial devices for securing endotracheal tubes

BMC Emerg Med. 2006 May 24:6:7. doi: 10.1186/1471-227X-6-7.


Background: Endotracheal Tubes (ETTs) are commonly secured using adhesive tape, cloth tape, or commercial devices. The objectives of the study were (1) To compare degrees of movement of ETTs secured with 6 different commercial devices and (2) To compare movement of ETTs secured with cloth tape tied with 3 different knots (hitches).

Methods: A 17 cm diameter PVC tube with 14 mm "mouth" hole in the side served as a mannequin. ETTs were subjected to repeated jerks, using a cable and pulley system.

Measurements: (1) Total movement of ETTs relative to "mouth" (measure used for devices) (2) Slippage of ETT through securing knot (measure used for knots).

Results: Among commercial devices, the Dale showed less movement than other devices, although some differences between devices did not reach significance. Among knots, Magnus and Clove Hitches produced less slippage than the Cow Hitch, but these differences did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion: Among devices tested, the Dale was most secure. Within the scope offered by the small sample sizes, there were no statistically significant differences between the knots in this study.