Real-Time Optical Monitoring of Endotracheal Tube Displacement

Biosensors (Basel). 2020 Nov 12;10(11):174. doi: 10.3390/bios10110174.


Proper ventilation of a patient with an endotracheal tube (ETT) requires proper placement of the ETT. We present a sensitive, noninvasive, operator-free, and cost-effective optical sensor, called Opt-ETT, for the real-time assessment of ETT placement and alerting of the clinical care team should the ETT become displaced. The Opt-ETT uses a side-firing optical fiber, a near-infrared light-emitting diode, two photodetectors with an integrated amplifier, an Arduino board, and a computer loaded with a custom LabVIEW program to monitor the position of the endotracheal tube inside the windpipe. The Opt-ETT generates a visual and audible warning if the tube moves over a distance set by the operator. Displacement prediction is made using a second-order polynomial fit to the voltages measured from each detector. The system is tested on ex vivo porcine tissues, and the accuracy is determined to be better than 1.0 mm. In vivo experiments with a pig are conducted to test the performance and usability of the system.

Keywords: displacement monitoring; endotracheal tube; fiber optic sensor.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Optical Fibers
  • Trachea