ICU Chest Films > Lines and Tubes > Endotracheal Tubes

Endotracheal Tubes

Endotracheal tubes (ET Tubes) or tracheostomy tubes are cuffed conduits placed in the trachea either through the oropharynx or through a surgically created tracheostomy. These tubes maintain airway patency and allow for mechanical ventilation of patients with respiratory failure. A tracheostomy is generally performed in patients who are intubated for longer than 1-3 weeks or who have upper airway obstruction. When evaluating an endotracheal tube on a chest x-ray it is important to identify the location of the tip.

A portable chest x-ray and close-up of a properly placed endotracheal tube (arrows) and location of carina (^).

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