Novel Endotracheal Tube System: A Reimagined Approach to a Popular But Dated Life Saving Device

Berard, David
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Life-saving interventions utilize endotracheal intubation to secure a patient's airway, but performance of the current gold-standard device—an endotracheal tube (ETT)—is inadequate. Deficiencies in the expansion mechanism cause concentrated forces on the sensitive tissues of the trachea that can cause or exacerbate patient injuries and produce downstream complications including tracheal stenosis, pneumonia, and necrosis of tracheal tissue. This thesis presents a novel redesign of the ETT that seeks to answer these limitations by utilizing unique geometries to produce a novel expansion mechanism that better distributes the contact forces of the ETT resulting in reduced tissue damage and complications. Multiple expansion mechanisms were investigated and a final design chosen. Prototypes were fabricated, and testing was done using a digital image correlation system to determine the average pressure induced on an encasing tube. It was hypothesized that a predictive model of this mechanism could be derived and that design parameters from this model could be used to tune the mechanical response, namely the output pressure, of the mechanism to fall within clinically recommended ranges. The results demonstrate that the predictive model accurately characterizes the geometry of the device and that key design parameters can be adjusted to control the output pressure of the mechanism. The mechanism was then integrated into a prototype novel ETT and intubation tests were conducted confirming equal performance when compared to a standard ETT in a manikin model. Future work will include further design optimizations and side-by-side in and ex vivo model comparisons with commercially available ETTs.

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Digital Image Correlation, Endotracheal Tube, Expandable Cylinder, Expanding Lattice, Intubation, Pressure Distribution
Mechanical Engineering