Endotracheal Cuff Pressures Generated by Different Members of the Anaesthesia Services in a Ghanaian Teaching Hospital


Background: The main function of the endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff is to ensure a tight seal between the tracheal wall and the endotracheal tube to prevent stomach contents from entering the trachea during ventilation thus preventing aspiration. Whereas excessive inflation of the cuff is associated with complications as a result of impaired blood supply to the trachea mucosa, low inflation pressure puts the patient at risk of aspiration. This study sought to find the accuracy of correctly estimating the cuff pressure and whether experience has effect on the accuracy. Methods: After approval from the Ethics Committee, we observed 199 patients who had general anaesthesia and had been intubated at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital,KumasiGhana. Anaesthesia practitioners were blinded to the study. The endotracheal cuff pressure was measured using a low pressure manometer. The experience of the Anaesthetist was also noted. Results: Only 26% of the cuff pressures measured were within the acceptable range of 20-30 cm H2O. 4.5% of the pressures measured were below the acceptable minimum value of20 cm H2O hence exposing the patient to the risk of aspiration. 68% of the cuff pressures measured were above the maximum pressure of30 cm H2O. Physician anaesthetists were likely to inflate the cuff correctly. They had average inflation pressures of24 cm H2O with minimum and maximum inflation pressures of15 cm H2O and32 cm H2O respectively. Resident physician anaesthetists inflate the endotracheal pressures moderately high, an average of41.64 cm H2O. Nurse anaesthetists and student nurse anaesthetists had a tendency to overinflate the endotracheal cuff above the recommended range of 20-30 cm H2O. Their mean inflating pressures were 64.7 and 68.54 respectively. Conclusion: ETT cuff pressures measured by the low pressure aneroid manometer in patients undergoing general anaesthesia in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital are routinely high and are significantly higher when inflated by nurse anaesthetists, student nurse anaesthetists and Anaesthesia residents.

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A. Antwi-Kusi, G. Boakye and W. Sam Awortwi, "Endotracheal Cuff Pressures Generated by Different Members of the Anaesthesia Services in a Ghanaian Teaching Hospital," Open Journal of Anesthesiology, Vol. 3 No. 10, 2013, pp. 427-432. doi: 10.4236/ojanes.2013.310089.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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