Background: Endotracheal tube security is a critical safety issue. We compared the mobility of an in situ endotracheal tube secured with adhesive tape to the one secured with a new commercially available purpose-designed endotracheal tube-holder device (Haider Tube-Guard). We also observed for the incidence of oropharyngeal or facial trauma associated with the 2 tube fixation methods.
Methods: Thirty adult patients undergoing general anesthesia with neuromuscular blockade were prospectively enrolled. Immediately after intubation, a single study author positioned the endotracheal tube tip in the distal trachea using a bronchoscope. Anesthesiologists caring for patients secured the tube in their normal fashion (always with adhesive tape). A force transducer was used to apply linear force, increasing to 15 N or until the principal investigator deemed that the force be aborted for safety reasons. The displacement of the endotracheal tube was measured with the bronchoscope. Any tape was then removed and the endotracheal tube secured with the Haider Tube-Guard device. The linear force was reapplied and the displacement of the endotracheal tube measured. The Haider Tube-Guard device was left in place for the duration of the case. The patient's face and oropharynx were examined for any evidence of trauma during surgery and in the recovery room. On discharge from the postanesthesia care unit, the patient answered a brief survey assessing for any subjective evidence of minor facial or oropharyngeal trauma.
Results: Under standardized tension, the endotracheal tube withdrew a mean distance of 3.4 cm when secured with adhesive tape versus 0.3 cm when secured with the Haider Tube-Guard (P <0.001). Ninety-seven percent of patients (29/30) experienced clinically significant endotracheal tube movement (>1 cm) when adhesive tape was used to secure the tube versus 3% (1/30) when the Haider Tube-Guard was used (P <0.001). Thirty percent of patients (9/30) were potentially deemed a high extubation risk (endotracheal tube movement >4 cm) when the endotracheal tube was secured with tape versus 0% (0/30) when secured with the Haider Tube-Guard (P = 0.004). Six patients with taped endotracheal tubes required the traction to be aborted before 15 N of force was achieved to prevent potential extubation as the tape either separated from the face or stretched to allow excessive endotracheal tube movement. None of the patients appeared to sustain any injury from the Haider Tube-Guard device.
Conclusions: The Haider Tube-Guard significantly reduced the mobility of the endotracheal tube when compared with adhesive tape and was well tolerated in our observations.