ACLS Drugs that are Commonly Administered Via Endotracheal Tube (ETT)

Instructor demonstrates insertion of the endotracheal tube (ET) on a dummy.

ACLS Drugs that are Commonly Administered Via Endotracheal Tube (ETT)

What is an Endotracheal Tube and How Does it Work?

The endotracheal tube is a medical device that connects to the trachea and provides a pathway for air to reach the lungs during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is often referred to as an “ETT” or “ET.”

ET tubes are the most secure advanced airways but the most challenging because they require laryngoscope-assisted insertion through the mouth or nose. This can be done by emergency medical technicians or paramedics, or by doctors in a hospital setting.

The tube is connected to an oxygen source, which provides air that reaches the lungs and will help them work more effectively. Chest compressions should be given continuously and breaths every 6 seconds (8–10 breaths and 100 compressions per minute) when using an advanced airway.

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Endotracheal Tube (ET)


What are the Different Types of ACLS Drugs That Can be Administered Via Endotracheal Tube?

Some fluids or drugs that you administer via IV (intravenous) or IO (intraosseous) routes can also be given via ET tube. Lidocaine, epinephrine, atropine, naloxone, and vasopressin can be absorbed via the trachea. However, administering these drugs into the trachea results in lower blood concentrations than when administered intravenously.

What are the drawbacks to administering ACLS drugs via endotracheal tube?

If a medication is given via the ET tube, CPR will need to be briefly interrupted so that the drug doesn’t regurgitate up the ET tube.

What else do I need to know about ETTs?

Using an ET tube, as well as other advanced airway devices, require training and practice. The American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines emphasize the training and retraining of airway device use for ACLS providers.

Medical ProCerts offers an ACLS Certification Course FREE for download and includes instruction on using an ETT and other advanced airway devices. If you require your ACLS Certification, our curriculum is written in compliance to the latest AHA guidelines, and can be studied completely online. Sign up and get certified today!

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