Improved Device for Changing Endotracheal Tubes

Endotracheal tubes, lifesaving devices to facilitate mechanical ventilation, may need to be exchanged in patients in cases of tube malfunction or prolonged time on the ventilator. Current devices to facilitate this exchange are limited in visual scope and stability of use.

Wake Forest’s endotracheal tube exchanger is a safer and more effective method to facilitate the quick exchange of endotracheal tubes in patients.

Invention Summary

The endotracheal tube exchanger, used in conjunction with a fiber optic bronchoscope, enables a physician to directly visualize the internal airway as the old tube is cut and removed, and slide the new endotracheal tube into place quickly and accurately. This disposable device includes a slicing tool and oral stabilizer that securely fastens the fiber optic scope and protects the patient’s mouth during tube exchange.

Competitive Benefits

  • The endotracheal tube exchanger ensures direct visualization is maintained throughout tube placement.
  • The exchanger ensures placement of the new tube without losing airway track or affecting other tubes in place (i.e., a feeding tube).
  • Continuous oxygenation and/or jet ventilation are maintained during tube replacement.
  • It is user friendly and enables easy, stable and quick tube exchange.
  • It is disposable and inexpensive to produce

Application Fields

  • This device can be used to exchange endotracheal tubes in patients on prolonged ventilators to prevent infection, tube blockage or malfunction.
  • It can be used to exchange endotracheal tubes in patients who have undergone upper respiratory/gastrointestinal tissue repair or dissection where losing the airway track might be problematic.
  • It can be used to exchange endotracheal tubes in patients with anatomical complexities in which tube exchange might otherwise be difficult.


  • A functional, ergonomic prototype of the endotracheal tube exchanger and mouthpiece made of sterilizable, medical-grade materials have been developed and will be demonstrated under appropriate confidentiality obligations.


Michael A. Olympio, MD


US Patent Application No. 14/104,481; and US Patent Application No. PCT/US2013/075386

Related Publications

Hudes ET, Fisher JA, Guslitz B. Difficult Endotracheal Reintubations: A simple technique. Anesthesiology 1986;64:515-17.

Licensing Contact

Dean Stell
Associate Director, Commercialization

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