ICU Chest Films > Lines and Tubes > Endotracheal Tubes > Malpositioning of Endotracheal Tubes


Malpositioning of Endotracheal Tubes

The rate of serious malposition of endotracheal tubes has been reported to be between 12-15%. Given that frequency, daily chest x-rays in intubated patients are recommended. The ideal position for endotracheal tubes is in the midtrachea, 5 cm from the carina, when the head is neither flexed nor extended. This allows for movement of the tip with head movements. The minimal safe distance from the carina is 2 cm.

How far can an endotracheal tube move with extension or flexion of the head?
0.5 cm
2 cm
4 cm
6 cm



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