Comparison of a novel lycra endotracheal tube cuff to standard polyvinyl chloride cuff and polyurethane cuff for fluid leak prevention

Respir Care. 2011 Aug;56(8):1095-9. doi: 10.4187/respcare.01099. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


Background: A high-volume low-pressure endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff forms folds along its contact with the trachea, allowing mucus leakage into the lungs. We developed a thin-walled ETT cuff made of Lycra polyurethane.

Methods: In vitro, we tested 6 of each of the new prototype Lycra cuff, the Mallinkrodt Hi-Lo ETT (polyvinyl chloride cuff), and the Kimberly-Clark Microcuff ETT (polyurethane cuff), for leakage, in an acrylic mock trachea (inner diameter 20-mm), with a cuff inflation pressure of 20 cm H(2)O. We poured 15 mL of methylene-blue colored water into the acrylic tube above the cuff and observed for leakage for 24 hours.

Results: The Lycra cuffs had no folds upon inflation in the mock trachea and completely prevented fluid leakage for 24 hours (P < .001 vs the Hi-Lo and the Microcuff). The average leakage past the Hi-Lo was 1,182 ± 1,321 mL/h. The average leakage past the Microcuff was 1.2 ± 0.4 mL/h (P < .001 vs the Hi-Lo).

Conclusions: Our Lycra cuff provided complete tracheal sealing in vitro.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation*
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Polyurethanes*
  • Polyvinyl Chloride*
  • Pressure
  • Respiration, Artificial


  • Polyurethanes
  • Polyvinyl Chloride