Misplaced endotracheal tube

Last revised by Mostafa Elfeky on 25 Dec 2021

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


  • 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

See also

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