A pressure regulator for the cuff of a tracheal tube
A regulator is described for the maintenance of a constant pressure difference above airway pressure during positive pressure ventilation in a cuffed tracheal tube. It comprises a tubular threshold valve which is powered by the anaesthetic gas supply source to a breathing system. The valve is interposed between the anaesthetic gas supply machine and the breathing system creating a pressure differential. The upstream pressure is transmitted to the pilot tube supplying the cuff of a tracheal tube via an upstream connection. The valve is suitable only for breathing systems that require a constant gas supply. The regulator was evaluated during anaesthesia, using a modified Mallinkrodt Hi-Lo jet ventilation tube to obtain simultaneous pressure measurements within the cuff and the lumen of the tracheal tube. A greater pressure was demonstrated in the cuff than in the airway and the two traces were approximately parallel throughout the respiratory cycle. The device should prevent excessive cuff inflation pressure and solves the problem of forgetting to let the cuff down before extubation.