Double lumen endotracheal tube

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 17 Nov 2019

A double lumen endotracheal tube is a type of intubation device where there are two lumens.


It is designed to isolate the lungs from one another anatomically and/or physiologically:

  • anatomical lung separation: isolation of diseased lung from contaminating the non-diseased lung
    • massive hemoptysis (protect from blood)
    • whole lung lavage for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (lavage worst lung first)
    • copious secretions (e.g. bronchiectasis, lung abscess: protect from pus
  • physiological lung separation (ventilates each lung as an independent unit)
    • unilateral parenchymal injury:
    • single lung transplant (post operative complications)
    • bronchopleural fistula
    • allow ventilation of normal lung without worsening leak through fistula
    • unilateral bronchospasm
    • thoracic surgery, e.g. pneumonectomy: right-sided double-lumen tube only used if left pneumonectomy or surgery on left main bronchus (e.g. to avoid dispruption of anastomosis on left lung transplant)

See also

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Cases and figures

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