Revision 21 for 'Chest x-ray: ET tube position (summary)'

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Chest x-ray: ET tube position (summary)

Chest x-ray ET (endotracheal tube) position should be assessed following initial placement and on subsequent radiographs.

Reference article

This is a summary article; we do not have a more in-depth reference article.


  • normal
    • tip 5 cm above carina
    • width 2/3 tracheal diameter
    • cuff should not expand the trachea
  • malposition
    • tip may extend past the carina
    • malposition most commonly see the tip in the right main bronchus
  • change in position
    • ET tube tip position is dependent on head position
    • tip position changes depending on neck flexion/extension
      • tip position may change by up to 2 cm
      • neck flexion makes the tip move downwards
      • neck extension makes the tip move upwards

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