A prospective randomized trial of tapered-cuff endotracheal tubes with intermittent subglottic suctioning in preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients☆,☆☆,★

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Endotracheal tube placement is necessary for the control of the airway in patients who are mechanically ventilated. However, prolonged duration of endotracheal tube placement contributes to the development of ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAPs). The aim of this study was to evaluate whether subglottic suctioning using TaperGuard EVAC tubes was effective in decreasing the frequency of VAP.


A total of 276 mechanically ventilated patients for more than 72 hours were randomly assigned to group E (EVAC tube) and group C (conventional tube). All patients received routine care including VAP prevention measures during their intensive care unit stay. In group E, subglottic suctioning was performed every 6 hours. Outcome variables included incidence VAP, intensive care unit length of stay, and mortality.


Frequency of intraluminal suction, mechanical ventilation–free days, reintubation, the ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen and mortality rate were similar between the 2 groups (P > .05). The mean cuff pressure in group E was significantly less than that in group C (P < .001). Ventilator-associated pneumonia was significantly less in group E compared with group C (P = .015).


The use of intermittent subglottic secretion suctioning was associated with a significant decrease in the incidence of the VAP in critically ill patients. However, larger multicenter trials are required to arrive at a concrete decision on routine usage of TaperGuard tubes in critical care settings.

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