PURPOSE: Longitudinal folds in tracheal tube (TT) cuffs cause leakage of pooled secretions past the tube cuff, and the most common in vitro method to test the efficacy of a new tube is a benchtop model using an artificial rigid trachea. This study compared the potential of a static and dynamic ventilation benchtop model and cuff lubrication in testing the tracheal sealing properties of a given TT cuff.
METHODS: Static trial Six brands of 7.5 mm internal diameter (ID) cuffed TT (n = 8) with high volume-low pressure cuffs were inflated in an artificial trachea (18 mm ID) without and with lubrication. Dynamic trial The same tube cuffs, without lubrication, were subjected to positive pressure ventilation (PPV) + positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5cmH(2)O or to PPV alone (without PEEP) or to PEEP alone (without PPV). Clear water (5 ml) was placed above the tube cuff, and fluid leakage (ml) was measured up to 60 min.
RESULTS: Gel lubrication, PEEP alone and PPV + PEEP completely prevented fluid leakage across the tube cuffs in all six TT brands tested within 60 min when compared to the static unlubricated model (0% leak versus 100% leak; P < 0.01). Fluid leakage in the static unlubricated model and the PPV group was 1.38-4.76 ml and 0.23-4.47 ml, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Gel lubrication, PEEP alone, and PPV + PEEP in the benchtop model had a much stronger protective effect than PPV alone on fluid leakage. Studies testing the fluid sealing efficiency of tube cuffs might be more conclusive in a static benchtop model without lubrication than in a dynamic model.