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Crit Care Med. 2007 Jun;35(6):1543-9.

Automatic control of tracheal tube cuff pressure in ventilated patients in semirecumbent position: a randomized trial.

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Unitat de Cures Intensives I Interm├Ędies, Servei de Pneumologia, Institut Clinic del Torax, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain.



The aspiration of subglottic secretions colonized by bacteria pooled around the tracheal tube cuff due to inadvertent deflation (<20 cm H2O) of the cuff plays a relevant role in the pathogenesis of ventilator-associated pneumonia. We assessed the efficacy of an automatic, validated device for the continuous regulation of tracheal tube cuff pressure in preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia.


Prospective randomized controlled trial.


Respiratory intensive care unit and general medical intensive care unit.


One hundred and forty-two mechanically ventilated patients (age, 64 +/- 17 yrs; Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, 18 +/- 6) without pneumonia or aspiration at admission.


Within 24 hrs of intubation, patients were randomly allocated to undergo continuous regulation of the cuff pressure with the automatic device (n = 73) or routine care of the cuff pressure (control group, n = 69). Patients remained in a semirecumbent position in bed.


The primary end point variable was the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Main causes for intubation were decreased consciousness (43, 30%) and exacerbation of chronic respiratory diseases (38, 27%). Cuff pressure <20 cm H2O was more frequently observed in the control than the automatic group (45.3 vs. 0.7% determinations, p < .001). However, the rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia with clinical criteria (16, 22% vs. 20, 29%) and microbiological confirmation (11, 15% vs. 10, 15%), the distribution of early and late onset, the causative microorganisms, and intensive care unit (20, 27% vs. 16, 23%) and hospital mortality (30, 41% vs. 23, 33%) were similar for the automatic and control groups, respectively.


Cuff pressure is better controlled with the automatic device. However, it did not result in additional benefits to the semirecumbent position in preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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