Endotracheal Tube Exchanger

The number of critically ill patients requiring mechanical ventilation continues to increase with the aging of the U.S. population. 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 exchanging endotracheal tubes are limited in visual scope and stability of use, and safer, more effective devices are needed to perform this procedure.

Invention Summary

Developed at Wake Forest, 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 novel, 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

  • Direct visualization maintained throughout tube placement
  • Enables easy, stable and quick tube exchange
  • User friendly
  • Disposable
  • Inexpensive to produce

Application Fields

  • This novel endotracheal tube exchanger can be used to change breathing tubes in patients on prolonged ventilators to prevent infection, tube blockage or malfunction
  • The device 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
  • The device can be used to exchange endotracheal tubes in patients with anatomical complexities in which tube exchange might otherwise be difficult


A prototype of the endotracheal tube exchanger has been developed.


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

John Druga

Reference #: WFU 12-48

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