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Anesthesiology. 2008 Jun;108(6):1004-8. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e3181730288.

Front teeth-to-carina distance in children undergoing cardiac catheterization.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, Maine, USA.



Knowledge of normal front teeth-to-carina distance (FT-C) might prevent accidental bronchial intubation. The aim of the current study was to measure FT-C and to examine whether the Morgan formula for oral intubation depth, i.e., endotracheal tube (ETT) position at front teeth (cm) = 0.10 x height (cm) + 5, gives appropriate guidance when intubating children of different ages.


FT-C was measured in 170 infants and children, aged 1 day to 19 yr, undergoing cardiac catheterization. FT-C was obtained as the sum of the ETT length at the upper front teeth/dental ridge and the distance from the ETT tip to the carina. The latter measure was taken from an anterior-posterior chest x-ray.


There was close linear correlation between FT-C and height: FT-C (cm) = 0.12 x height (cm) + 5.2, R = 0.98. The linear correlation coefficients (R) for FT-C versus weight and age were 0.78 and 0.91, respectively. If the Morgan formula had been used for intubation, the ETT tip would have been at 90 +/- 4% of FT-C. No patient would have been bronchially intubated, but the ETT tip would have been less than 0.5 cm from the carina in 13 infants.


FT-C can be well predicted from the height/length of the child. The Morgan formula provides good guidance for intubation in children but can result in a distal ETT tip position in small infants. Careful auscultation is necessary to ensure correct tube position.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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