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J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol. 2019 Jul-Sep;35(3):353-358. doi: 10.4103/joacp.JOACP_317_18.

Confirmation of placement of endotracheal tube - A comparative observational pilot study of three ultrasound methods.

Author information

Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India.
Department of Anaesthesiology, Maulana Azad Medical College and LN Hospital, Delhi, India.
Department of Radiodiagnosis, University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi, India.
Department of Anaesthesiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India.


Background and Aims:

Confirmation of endotracheal tube (ETT) position is necessary to ensure proper ventilation. The present study was conducted with the aim to compare the efficacy of three ultrasonographic (USG) techniques in terms of time taken for confirmation of ETT position. The time taken by each USG technique was also compared with that for auscultation and capnography. The ability of the three USG techniques to identify tracheal placement of ETT was evaluated in all patients.

Material and Methods:

Ninety adult American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) I/II patients requiring general anaesthesia with tracheal intubation were randomised into three groups (n = 30 each) depending upon the initial USG transducer position used to confirm tracheal placement of ETT: group T (tracheal), group P (pleural) and group D (diaphragm). The time taken for confirmation of tracheal placement of ETT by USG, auscultation and capnography was recorded for each of the groups. Subsequently, USG confirmation of ETT placement was performed with the other two USG techniques in all patients.


The time taken for USG in group T was significantly less (3.8 ± 0.9 s) compared to group P (12.1 ± 1.6 s) and group D (13.8 ± 1.7 s); P < 0.001. USG was significantly faster than both auscultation and capnography in group T (P < 0.001), whereas in group P and group D, USG took longer time compared to auscultation (P = 0.014 and P < 0.001, respectively) but lesser time than capnography (P < 0.001 in both groups).


USG is a rapid technique for identification of ETT placement. All the three USG techniques are reliable in identifying the tracheal placement of ETT.


Auscultation; capnography; tracheal intubation; ultrasonography

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