Endotracheal intubation in children is usually performed utilizing uncuffed endotracheal tubes for conduct of anesthesia as well as for prolonged ventilation in critical care units. However, uncuffed tubes may require multiple changes to avoid excessive air leak, with subsequent environmental pollution making the technique uneconomical. In addition, monitoring of ventilatory parameters, exhaled volumes, and end-expiratory gases may be unreliable. All these problems can be avoided by use of cuffed endotracheal tubes. Besides, cuffed endotracheal tubes may be of advantage in special situations like laparoscopic surgery and in surgical conditions at risk of aspiration. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in children have found the narrowest portion of larynx at rima glottides. Cuffed endotracheal tubes, therefore, will form a complete seal with low cuff pressure of <15 cm H2O without any increase in airway complications. Till recently, the use of cuffed endotracheal tubes was limited by variations in the tube design marketed by different manufacturers. The introduction of a new cuffed endotracheal tube in the market with improved tracheal sealing characteristics may encourage increased safe use of these tubes in clinical practice. A literature search using search words "cuffed endotracheal tube" and "children" from 1980 to January 2012 in PUBMED was conducted. Based on the search, the advantages and potential benefits of cuffed ETT are reviewed in this article.
Keywords: Children; cuffed endotracheal tube; microcuff tube.