Nitrous oxide diffusion into tracheal tube cuffs: comparison of five different tracheal tube cuffs
The aim of this study was to investigate cuff compliance and cuff pressure during nitrous oxide exposure in the recently introduced Microcuff tracheal tube with a polyurethane cuff (Microcuff GmbH, Weinheim, Germany), and to compare it to conventional tracheal tubes with PVC cuffs. Methods:
In an in vitro set up, five cuffed tracheal tubes (ID 7.0 mm) from different manufacturers (Microcuff HVLP, Portex Profile Soft Seal, Mallinckrodt HiLo, Rüsch Super Safety Clear and Sheridan CF) were studied. Pressure–volume curves were assessed and changes of cuff pressure during exposure to nitrous oxide (for 60 min; 66% N2O in oxygen) were recorded without and with restriction of the cuff in a trachea model. Each experiment was performed four times using two exemplars of each tube twice. Sixty-minute values of the Microcuff group were compared with the other groups using the Mann– Whitney test (P < 0.05). Results:
The Microcuff polyurethane cuff demonstrated an intermediate cuff compliance but the highest cuff pressure increase during nitrous oxide exposure under unrestricted conditions. When inflated within the artificial trachea its cuff compliance became the highest of all tested tracheal tubes. However, exposure to N2O, again led to a rapid increase in cuff pressure. Conclusion:
The ultra-thin polyurethane tube cuff demonstrated higher permeability for nitrous oxide than conventional PVC cuffs and led to a rapid cuff pressure increase when exposed to N2O. Routinely checking of cuff-pressure or filling the cuff with nitrous oxide are more important than the brand of tube used.