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Title: A prospective comparative study of continuous and intermittent endotracheal tube cuff pressure measurement in an adult intensive care unit
Authors: Memela, Mduduzi Emmanuel 
Issue Date: 2010
Introduction: The aim of this study was to establish the most reliable standard
method for monitoring endotracheal tube cuff pressure in an intensive care unit.
Methodology: The study was conducted at King Edward VIII Hospital ICU on adult
patients undergoing prolonged intubation of more than 24 hours. Consent was
obtained from the patient’s next of kin. The patient’s Pcuff for this study was
recorded in two ways simultaneously for a period of 12 hours during the day. The
principal investigator recorded the Pcuff thrice during the study period using the
Posey cufflator®. Continuous recording was done using a pressure transducer
connected to the Nihon Kohden BSM®. Factors causing changes in Pcuff were also
Results: Thirty-five critically ill adult patients were enrolled into the study. Nineteen
(54.3%) of the subjects were male. Seventeen out of 35 subjects were studied for
the entire 720 minute period. The mean time of study of the group was 667 minutes
with the lowest period being 135 minutes for one patient. The group mean ±
Standard deviation (SD) was 26.6 8.7 with a 95% confidence index of 9.2 – 44.0
and the median value was 25 for continuous readings. For the entire group, 13% of
the time was spent in the low pressure range (< 20 cmH2O), while 23% was spent in
the high pressure (> 30 cmH2O). A mean of 64% of the time was spent in the normal
pressure range. Overall, the most frequently encountered events that caused
pressure changes were body movement, coughing, head movement and suctioning
accounting for 26.2%, 20.1%, 19.2% and 9.4% respectively. For intermittent
readings, the mean ± SD of all patients for T0 was 25.3 ± 6.9; for T6 25.9 ± 8.7 and
for T12 24.8 ± 3.8. The overall mean ± SD for all readings was 25.6 ± 7.1. For the
entire group, 12% of the time was spent in the low pressure range (< 20 cmH2O),
while 5% was spent in the high pressure (> 30 cmH2O). A mean of 83% of the time
was spent in the normal pressure range. The correlation between intermittent
pressure and the continuous reading at the same time was r = 0.87.
Discussion: Continuous monitoring of Pcuff indicated that the endotracheal cuff
pressure varies extensively during mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients, such
variation being noted both between patients and within an individual patient. In an
attempt to compare intermittent and continuous monitoring of endotracheal cuff
pressures, a good correlation between the two measurements was demonstrated.
However, the variations in pressures noted for an individual patient would not have
been detected if endotracheal cuff pressures were monitored intermittently. Hence,
with continuous monitoring the pressure changes may be detected early.
Conclusion: Continuous monitoring of cuff pressure during mechanical ventilation in
intensive care units is thus recommended for all patients. If intermittent monitoring is
performed, it should be more frequently than eight-hourly. It is recommended that a
pressure range of 20-30 cmH2O still be used as the normal range. The role of self
adjusting pressure devices, although needing further exploration, holds much
Submitted in fulfillment of the Master's Degree in Clinical Technology, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2010.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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