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
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Previous studies have indicated that prehospital ETI performed by paramedics with limited experience results in twice the rate of esophageal intubation as ETI performed by experienced physicians [31-34].
One of the most common reasons for negligence claims against paramedics is unrecognized esophageal intubation. The law consistently finds that an unrecognized esophageal intubation equates to negligence.
The importance of studying performance of airway management is emphasized by the American Society of Anesthesiologists' Closed Claims Project (Caplan, Posner, Ward, & Cheney, 1990; Cheney, Posner, & Caplan, 1991), which found that inadequate ventilation, esophageal intubation, and difficult tracheal intubation were frequent causes of critical events during airway management.
Influence of smoking and esophageal intubation on esophageal pH-metry.
Esophageal intubation with indirect clinical tests during emergency tracheal intubation: a report on patient morbidity.
Moreover, the main cause of maternal deaths was hypoxemia secondary to airway obstruction or esophageal intubation.[sup][26] Insertion of LMA is a valuable alternative in case of difficult intubation when maternal hypoxemia occurs.