A Randomized Comparison of Positional Stability: The EZ-Blocker Versus Left-Sided Double-Lumen Endobronchial Tubes in Adult Patients Undergoing Thoracic Surgery

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2021 Aug;35(8):2319-2325. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2020.11.056. Epub 2020 Nov 28.


Objective: To assess if there is a difference in the repositioning rate of the EZ-Blocker versus a left-sided double-lumen endobronchial tube (DLT) in patients undergoing thoracic surgery and one-lung ventilation.

Design: Prospective, randomized.

Setting: Single center, university hospital.

Participants: One hundred sixty-three thoracic surgery patients.

Interventions: Patients were randomized to either EZ-Blocker or a DLT.

Measurements and main results: The primary outcome was positional stability of either the EZ-Blocker or a left-sided double-lumen endobronchial tube, defined as the number of repositionings per hour of surgery and one-lung ventilation. Secondary outcomes included an ordinal isolation score from 1 to 3, in which 1 was poor, up to 3, which represented excellent isolation, and a visual analog postoperative sore throat score (0-100) on postoperative days (POD) one and two. Rate of repositionings per hour during one-lung ventilation and surgical manipulation in left-sided cases was similar between the two devices: 0.08 ± 0.15 v 0.11 ± 0.3 (p = 0.72). In right-sided cases, the rate of repositioning was higher in the EZ-Blocker group compared with DLT: 0.38 ± 0.65 v 0.09 ± 0.21 (p = 0.03). Overall, mean isolation scores for the EZ-Blocker versus the DLT were 2.76 v 2.92 (p = 0.04) in left-sided cases and 2.70 v 2.83 (p = 0.22) in right-sided cases. Median sore throat scores for left sided cases were 0 v 5 (p = 0.13) POD one and 0 v 5 (p = 0.006) POD two for the EZ-Blocker and left-sided DLT, respectively.

Conclusion: For right-sided procedures, the positional stability of the EZ-Blocker is inferior to a DLT. In left-sided cases, the rate of repositioning for the EZ-Blocker and DLT are not statistically different.

Keywords: bronchial blocker; double-lumen tube; lung isolation; thoracic anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • One-Lung Ventilation*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thoracic Surgery*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures*