Misplaced endotracheal tube

Last revised by Dr Mostafa El-Feky on 26 Jun 2021

A misplaced or malpositioned endotracheal tube is a relatively common complication that is detected on post-intubation radiographs.

Complications

  • if the ETT is too high it can rub against the vocal cords and cause cord trauma
  • if the ETT is too low it can selectively intubate the right or left mainstem bronchus (see: endobronchial intubation)
  • esophageal intubation should be suspected with progressive gaseous distention of the stomach while the lung volumes remain low

Differential diagnosis

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: esophageal intubation in a neonate
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  • Case 2: ETT in right mainstem bronchus
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  • Case 3: ETT in right mainstem bronchus
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  • Case 3: in coronal plane
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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  • Case 6: esophageal intubation in an adult
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  • Case 7: ETT in right main bronchus
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  • Case 8: at right main bronchus
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  • Case 9: with lung collapse and follow up film
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  • Case 10: at left main bronchus with complete right lung collapse
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  • Case 11: with left lung collapse in a neonate
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  • Case 12: at right main bronchus
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