Influence of site of tracheal pressure measurement on in situ estimation of endotracheal tube resistance

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994 Dec;77(6):2899-906. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1994.77.6.2899.


In situ measurement of distal tracheal pressure (Ptr) via an intraluminal side-hole catheter (IC) has been used to determine endotracheal tube (Rett) and intrinsic patient (Rpt) resistances in intubated subjects. Because of differences in cross-sectional area between the endotracheal tube (ETT) and trachea, fluid dynamic principles predict that IC position should critically influence these results. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of IC position on Rett. Ptr was recorded in vitro through an IC from 2 cm inside, at the tip of, or 2 cm outside an ETT (7, 8, and 9 mm ID) situated within an artificial trachea (13, 18, and 22 mm ID). A reference value of Rett was also obtained. Results were unaffected by IC position during inspiration, overestimating Rett by 7.9 +/- 0.7% (SE). In contrast, during expiration, Rett fell as IC position changed from outside to inside the ETT and was underestimated by 41.3 +/- 3.6% with Ptr recorded inside the ETT. Varying ETT or tracheal size had little effect on the relative error in Rett. The IC itself did increase Rett due to a reduction in effective cross-sectional area, the change varying directly with IC size and inversely with ETT caliber. In vivo values in 11 intubated patients were comparable to in vitro results. In summary, IC position and size can have important consequences on in situ measurements of Ptr and should be considered when clinically monitoring Rett or Rpt.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Airway Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Trachea / physiology*