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Pediatrics. 2007 Dec;120(6):1297-303.

Use of bedside ultrasonography for endotracheal tube placement in pediatric patients: a feasibility study.

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Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, LeBonheur Children's Medical Center, 50 N Dunlap St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA.



The purpose of our study was to evaluate the usefulness of bedside ultrasonography in verifying endotracheal tube placement in the pediatric population.


This study consisted of 2 phases. In phase I, subjects were examined while intubated and after extubation to determine the presence of the endotracheal tube by applying each of 2 ultrasound transducers to the cricothyroid membrane. In phase II, pediatric patients were examined in the emergency department during intubation or immediately after intubation to ascertain proper endotracheal tube placement by using bedside ultrasonography. These results were compared with the results obtained with a colorimetric end-tidal carbon dioxide detector and chest radiographs.


Forty-nine and 50 patients (age: 1 day to 17 years) were recruited in the first and second phases of the study, respectively. The endotracheal tube was detected in all 99 patients by using bedside ultrasonography. Two views were required to show accurately the presence of the endotracheal tube in the trachea. Visualization was obtained in all cases, although short necks and cervical collars made the procedure more challenging. The sniffing position allowed for the best acquisition of high-quality images. Our linear transducer provided the best images but, because of its size, it was not ideal when space was limited. Therefore, the curvilinear transducer was used exclusively for phase II. During phase II, the mean times to acquire bedside ultrasonographic images of the endotracheal tube through the cricothyroid membrane and to obtain a chest radiograph were 17.1 seconds and 14.0 minutes, respectively. In 3 cases, bedside ultrasonographic images proved to be invaluable when the colorimetric end-tidal carbon dioxide detector yielded false-negative or equivocal readings.


Bedside ultrasonography can be used to accurately and rapidly determine the presence of the endotracheal tube within the trachea in pediatric patients.

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