Optimization of Ultrasound Transducer Positioning for Endotracheal Tube Placement Confirmation in Cadaveric Model
Sonography has been suggested as a possible means of endotracheal tube (ETT) placement confirmation. However, optimum ultrasound transducer placement has not been established. Using a cadaveric model, ETT placement by the sonographic appearance at the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and suprasternal notch in the upper airway was assessed to determine which ultrasound transducer placement offered the most optimal images for ETT confirmation in the airway.
One provider intubated 5 cadavers, with the ultrasound transducer at each of the 3 levels, for a total of 30 intubations per specimen, while 2 providers assigned a visual score of 1 (subtle), 2 (clear), or 3 (pronounced) to each sonogram of the ETT in the airway.
At the level of the thyroid cartilage, tracheal intubation was detected at a rate of 40%, with a median visualization scale of 1 (subtle movement). At the level of the cricoid cartilage, the visualization scale improved to a median of 2 (clear movement), with a 70% intubation detection rate. At the level of the suprasternal notch, 100% of the tracheal intubations were visualized on sonography, with a median score of 3 (pronounced movement).
In comparing sonographic detection of ETT placement at 3 levels of the upper airway in a cadaveric model, our results clearly indicate that visualization was superior at the level of the suprasternal notch, with 100% of intubations detected with the best visualization scores.