Ventilator Y-Piece Pressure Compared with Intratracheal Airway Pressure in Healthy Intubated Children

  • Omer Nasiroglu
  • Bruce Craig Weldon
  • Lawrence S. Berman
  • Ikram Ul Haque


Objective. Compare airway pressure measurements at the ventilator Y-piece of the breathing circuit (P Y ) to intratracheal pressure measured at the distal end (P T ) of the endotracheal tube (ETT) during mechanical ventilation and spontaneous breathing of intubated children. Methods. Thirty children (age range 29 days to 5 years) receiving general anesthesia were intubated with an ETT incorporating a lumen embedded in its sidewall that opened at the distal end to measure P T . Peak inflation pressure (PIP) was measured at P Y and P T during positive pressure ventilation. Just before extubation, all measurements were repeated and imposed resistive work of breathing (WOBi) was calculated at both sites while breathing spontaneously. Results. Average PIP was approximately 25% greater at P Y (19.7 ± 3.4 cm H2O) vs. P T (15.0 ± 2.9 cm H2O), p < 0.01. During spontaneous inhalation P T was 59% lower ({bond}8.5 ± 4.0 cm H2O) vs. P Y ({bond}3.5 ± 2.0 cm H2O), p < 0.01. WOBi measured at P Y (0.10 ± 0.02 Joule/L) was 86% less than WOBi measured at P T (0.70 ± 0.40 Joule/L), p < 0.01. Conclusions. In healthy children P Y significantly overestimates PIP in the trachea during positive pressure ventilation and underestimates the intratracheal airway pressure during spontaneous inhalation. During positive pressure ventilation P T better assesses the pressure generated in the airways and lungs compared to P Y because P T also includes the difference in airway pressure across the ETT tube due to resistance. During spontaneous inhalation, P T reflects the series resistance of the ETT and ventilator circuit, while P Y reflects only the resistance of the ventilator circuit, accounting for the smaller decreases in pressure. Additionally, P Y underestimates the total WOBi load on the respiratory muscles. Thus, P T is a more accurate reflection of pulmonary airway pressures than P Y and suggests that it should be incorporated into ventilator systems to more accurately trigger the ventilator and to reduce work of breathing.


respiration artificial infant child intermittent positive-pressure ventilation intubation intratracheal work of breathing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Omer Nasiroglu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruce Craig Weldon
    • 3
  • Lawrence S. Berman
    • 1
  • Ikram Ul Haque
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of DukeDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of Pediatrics/Division of Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Florida College of MedicineGainesvilleusa

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