A new method for determining the insertion depth of tracheal tubes in children: a pilot study

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Abstract

Background

Choosing the correct insertion depth of tracheal tubes is crucial for successful airway management in paediatrics. Currently used formulas are based on patient characteristics such as age, body weight and height. The aim of the study is to devise and evaluate more suitable body surface area based diagrams for predicting the correct tracheal insertion depth.

Methods

Calculated insertion depth according to currently used formulas, primary insertion depth and insertion depth corrected by chest radiography (‘gold standard’) were collected from 237 children. Age, body weight, height and body surface area were noted. Body surface area based diagrams were devised and prospectively evaluated in another set of 123 paediatric patients.

Results

Tracheal tube position according to currently used formulas had to be corrected in 37% of all intubations. New body surface area based diagrams were created. In 20.3%, depth of the tracheal tube had to be corrected according to the new body surface area based diagrams.

Conclusions

The body surface area based diagrams may be a reliable tool for predicting the correct tracheal insertion depth in children.

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