Glossary Entry: Endotracheal Tube


Definition: An endotracheal tube is a flexible plastic tube inserted through the mouth into the trachea to maintain an open airway and facilitate mechanical ventilation in patients who are unable to breathe on their own.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Endotracheal tubes come in various sizes and designs, including cuffed and uncuffed tubes, as well as specialized tubes for use in pediatric patients.


Common Uses: Endotracheal tubes are commonly used in emergency situations, during surgeries, and in intensive care units to provide respiratory support for patients with respiratory failure or compromised airways.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The endotracheal tube is inserted using a laryngoscope to visualize the vocal cords and guide the tube into the trachea. Proper placement is essential to ensure effective ventilation and prevent complications.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with endotracheal tube placement include airway trauma, damage to the vocal cords, and the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Regular suctioning of secretions, monitoring cuff pressure, and proper positioning of the tube are essential for maintaining the functionality and safety of the endotracheal tube.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Some related devices include endotracheal tube holders, suction catheters, and ventilators used in conjunction with endotracheal tubes.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Advancements in endotracheal tube design, such as the development of subglottic suction ports to reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia, have improved patient safety and outcomes.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: The use of endotracheal tubes is subject to regulatory guidelines and safety standards to ensure proper usage and minimize the risk of complications.