esophageal intubation

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esophageal intubation

The improper placement of an endotracheal tube, intended to provide a conduit for air to and from the lungs, into the esophagus. It is a common and potentially life-threatening occurrence during anesthesia and critical illnesses.

Patient care

Health care practitioners have several means at their disposal to try to recognize esophageal intubation. These include direct observation of the endotracheal tube, as it passes through the vocal cords, or capnography.


Failure to recognize esophageal intubation can result in inadequate oxygenation of the patient.
See also: intubation
References in periodicals archive ?
The law consistently finds that an unrecognized esophageal intubation equates to negligence.
Esophageal intubation occurred in one patient and remained undetected for longer than 6 rain (Mackenzie, Martin, Xiao, & the LOTAS Group, 1996).
Moreover, the main cause of maternal deaths was hypoxemia secondary to airway obstruction or esophageal intubation.
In an effort to reduce the risk of esophageal intubation, many clinical organizations now recommend ETC[O.