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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-17

A retrospective study of endotracheal or tracheostomy tube blockage and their impact on the patients in an intensive care unit

Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong, Meghalaya, India

Correspondence Address:
Md. Yunus
B-10C, Faculty Quarters, North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences Campus, Shillong - 793 018, Meghalaya
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9903.202013

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Background: Endotracheal and tracheostomy tube (TT) blockage is a common airway accident in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Although tube blockage is rarely fatal, it has a major impact on the quality of ICU care and the family of the patient. The present study is aimed to assess the tube accidents; primarily, the number, timing, the cause of tube blockage in intubated patients and its impact along with the risk of blockage in relation to respiratory diseases, demography, and on-tube duration. Materials and Methods: After the Ethical Committee approval, the study was conducted in a mixed ICU. Data were collected retrospectively from the ICU assessment record of patients admitted from November 2012 to October 2014. The total numbers of intubated patients and the duration of intubation were recorded. Patients who were intubated for >24 h were evaluated for risk analysis. Data were analyzed using InStat software with Fisher's exact test and unpaired t-test. Results: There were 105 episodes of tube blockage in 72 out of 975 intubated patients during 3797 tube days resulting in five cardiac arrests and one death. Endotracheal tube tubes tend to get blocked earlier than TT tubes (6.30 vs. 8.09 days). The risk of tube blockage increases significantly in patients having ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and who have been intubated for 5 days or more (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Fatality from tube blockage is rare but causes preventable death. Hence, tube change for ongoing airway management between 5 and 7 days is probably justifiable, especially in patients with VAP.

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