Aspiration has been suggested as a source of pulmonary complications seen in patients with tracheal intubation. A previous study demonstrated that the high incidence of aspiration in patients with tracheostomies can be decreased by modification of the tracheostomy tube cuff design. In the present protocol, 100 patients with endotracheal tubes in place were studied to document the incidence of aspiration and to attempt to decrease the incidence by modification of cuff design. Utilizing an Evans blue dye test to detect aspiration, 27 of the 48 patients (56 per cent) with standard low volume, high pressure cuffed tubes had positive tests. In 17 patients with modified standard cuffed tubes, the incidence of aspiration was decreased to 29 per cent (5 patients). Aspiration was further decreased to 20 per cent (7 patients) in the 35 patients with high volume, low pressure cuffed tubes. These results demonstrate that the incidence of aspiration in patients with endotracheal tubes can be decreased by modification of endotracheal tube cuff design.
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