SMTL Medical Disposable Datacard

Endotracheal tube

All Wales Contract: Anaesthetic and Endotracheal
Sterility Status: Sterile
Usage Status: Single use
Commonly used name: ET tube


Endotracheal tubes (ET tubes or ETT, also known as tracheal tubes or TTs) consist of a transparent airway tube with graduated markings which posesses a standard connector at one end and may possess a hole in the side, near the tip (known as the 'Murphy eye'). Most tubes available are radio opaque.

Some ETTs are 'plain' as described above but 'cuffed' versions also exist that possess an inflatable cuff at the other end of the tubing, which is attached to a pilot balloon via a narrow inflatable tube.

In addition, ET tubes exist that are reinforced with spiral wire, designed to minimise crushing and kinking and to withstand high pressure levels.


Key areas where used

  • Theatres
  • Accident and Emergency
  • Intensive care

Method of use

ET tubes are used for airway management in theatres, intensive care and during emergency procedures in order to maintain patient ventilation. They are placed into the trachea via the mouth with the help of a laryngoscope. Nasal and oro-nasal versions are also available that can enter the trachea via the mouth or nose. The graduated markings above the cuff enable correct placement to be better judged. A black line (or pair of black lines) present on the tube are placed at the level of the vocal cords. The cuff allows an airtight seal to facilitate ventilation and to isolate the airway from contamination (such as blood and vomit). Once in place, ETTs are usually secured in place using tape or a strap that fits around the patient's chin (for oral ETTs) or forehead (for nasal ETTs).

If the ET tube is cuffed, the cuff is inflated after the airway is in place. High volume, low pressure cuffs are the most commonly used but low volume, high pressure cuffs also exist.

The Murphy's eye near the tip of the ET tube is designed to avoid complete obstruction of the tube by mucous plugs or by sealing of the tube to the wall of the trachea.

The connector end of the tube protrudes from the mouth and can be attached to a breathing machine or bag for mechanical ventilation

Some ET tubes are preformed into curved shapes (such as RAE, North or South facing tubes) for use in particular situations.


Individually packaged in a peel pouch

Sizes Required

  • Sizes 3-10.5 mm (internal diameter)

Relevant Standards

The following standards are relevant to this product;

Organisation Standard No. Title
BSI BS EN 1782:1998 Tracheal tubes and connectors


The following table lists examples of products known to be acceptable for this product description.

Brand Name Product Code Manufacturer
RAE Oral 113-30 Tyco Healthcare
RAE oral cuff 115-55 Tyco Healthcare
Sheridan Preformed cuffed 5-22210 Teleflex Medical
Safety flex cuffed 11830 Tyco Healthcare



P Phillips and J Ford

Please inform SMTL of any inaccuracies noted or changes required in this datacard.


This datacard has been prepared as an aid to contracting for purchasers in the NHS in Wales, and should not be used as a substitute for literature, instructions or training from the manufacturers of the devices.

Products mentioned in this datacard are for illustration purposes only and should not be seen as an endorsement of these products.

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