Rapid estimation of insertional length of endotracheal intubation in newborn infants

J Pediatr. 1997 Oct;131(4):561-4. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(97)70062-3.


Objective: To create a simple and accurate method of predicting the correct insertional length of endotracheal intubation during resuscitation of neonates.

Study design: Phase I of the study enrolled infants that required either orotracheal or nasotracheal intubations. The endotracheal tube position was confirmed by auscultation and radiographic images. Three regression equations were then created using nasal-tragus length, sternal length, and birth weight on insertional length. In phase II of the study, the modified regression equations of nasotracheal and sternal length were used to predict endotracheal tube insertional length in 50 infants (40 orotracheal and 10 nasotracheal).

Results: Nasal-tragus length and sternal length are good parameters to estimate insertional length for endotracheal intubation (p < 0.005 for both the parameters). The modified prediction equation for insertional length of the endotracheal tube for the orotracheal route is NTL or STL + 1. For the nasotracheal route the equation is NTL or STL + 2.

Conclusion: During resuscitation of the neonate when vital parameters are difficult to obtain, the insertional length of endotracheal intubation can be quickly and accurately predicted by nasal-tragus length or sternal length.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies