Cuffed endotracheal tubes in infants less than 3 kg: A retrospective cohort study

Rebecca E. Thomas, Shripada C. Rao, Corrado Minutillo, Bruce Hullett, Max K. Bulsara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cuffed endotracheal tubes are being increasingly used in infants; however, current evidence in the literature mostly includes infants ≥ 3-kg weight. Aims: The aim of this observational study was to compare the short-term outcomes with the use of Microcuff® cuffed vs uncuffed endotracheal tubes in neonates < 3 kg. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study in a single-centre, tertiary children's hospital neonatal intensive care unit. The study included all infants < 3 kg receiving Microcuff® cuffed endotracheal tubes over the period January 2015 to January 2016. Controls were all infants 2000-2999 g receiving an uncuffed endotracheal tube over the period September 2015 to January 2016. Results: Twenty-three patients < 3 kg were intubated with cuffed endotracheal tubes. All were inserted in the operating room. Of 23 patients, 14 (60.9%) patients had the cuff inflated in the operating room and none subsequently in the neonatal intensive care unit. The group receiving cuffed endotracheal tubes was compared with 23 patients with uncuffed endotracheal tubes. There was no difference in weight (median 2620 g vs 2590 g, diff in median = 10, 95% CI −120, 130) or duration of intubation (median 27 vs 44 hours, diff in median = 17, 95% CI −5, 46). However, there was a significant difference in gestational age (median 37 vs 35 weeks, diff in median = −1, 95% CI −2, 0) and age at intubation (median 6 vs 0 days, diff in median = −4, 95% CI −10, −1). There were no significant differences in the rates of: change of endotracheal tube to find correct size (0/23 vs 4/23, P =.109, OR = 0.13, 95% CI 0.01, 1.41); median ventilator leak reading (0% [IQR 0%-12%] vs 0% [IQR 0%-5.5%], P =.201, diff in median = 0, 95% CI −5.5, 0); unplanned extubations (0/23 vs 2/23; atelectasis (4/23 vs 0/23; endotracheal tube blockage (0/23 vs 0/23; pneumonia (0/23 vs 0/23; or postextubation stridor (1/23 vs 2/23). Conclusion: This retrospective study with a small sample size found that Microcuff® cuffed endotracheal tubes may be safe in neonates < 3 kg. Well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to address this issue definitively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-209
Number of pages6
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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