A description of patients' report of endotracheal tube discomfort

Mary Jo Grap, Tracy Blecha, Cindy Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe the type, location, and amount of endotracheal tube (ETT) discomfort. Twenty-two subjects (mean age 49.2 years) who had experienced ETT intubation for at least 6 hours (mean: 25.9 hours) after cardiac surgery, completed a 100-mm Visual Analogue Scale related to their experience with the endotracheal tube within 24 hours after extubation. A semi-structured interview was also conducted. There was no relationship between the duration of intubation and the level of discomfort described (r = -0.24; P = 0.29) or between the duration of intubation and whether medications relieved the discomfort (r = 0.34; P = 17). All subjects described some level of discomfort. The majority stated the discomfort was in the throat area. However, 27% (n = 6) described the discomfort as located in the chest. There was no difference in the level of discomfort based on discomfort location (f = -0.14; P = 0.71). The discomfort locations support the notion that ETT irritation occurs at multiple levels (i.e. pharyngeal, laryngeal, and tracheal mucosal areas). In addition, interventions that focus on ETT stability will not be sufficient to reduce discomfort but must re-focus nursing attention on reducing ETT movement as well as the movement of all ventilator tubing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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