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Reducing Dysphagia Associated With Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery by Maintaining Low Endotracheal Tube Cuff Pressure

This study has been completed.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First Posted: June 2, 2006
Last Update Posted: August 28, 2017
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Lawson Health Research Institute

Anterior cervical spine surgery (ACSS) is one of the most common procedures performed by spinal surgeons. It is associated with a 30-50% risk of developing swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). Although these difficulties usually improve within 6 months, for some it remains a significant and persistent problem.

We hypothesize that lowering the cuff pressure will lower the risk of injury to soft-tissues in the neck that are important to swallowing function. Our objective in this study is to demonstrate a lower occurrence of swallowing problems after anterior cervical spine surgery in patients with lower endotracheal tube cuff pressure during surgery.

Forty patients will be randomly assigned to a treatment group or control group. The treatment group will have the cuff pressure maintained at 15mmHg during the entire duration of the procedure. The control group will have the cuff pressure monitored without manipulation. After surgery soft-tissue swelling will be assessed on the five routine neck x-rays taken. In addition, 3 questionnaires completed before surgery and at each scheduled follow-up appointment will measure and track changes in swallowing over time and assess the impact of swallowing function on the patient's overall health. The results of this study may show that making a minor, inexpensive change during an operation may lower the risk of swallowing difficulties after a relatively common surgery.

Condition Intervention
Deglutition Disorders Procedure: Maintaining low (15mmHg) ETT cuff pressure Procedure: Maintaining a normal pressure in the ETT cuff

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Endotracheal Tube Cuff Pressure Protocol to Reduce Dysphagia Following Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery: A Prospective Randomized Pilot Study

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Lawson Health Research Institute:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Severity of dysphagia [ Time Frame: pre-operatively and at 24hrs, 6wks, 3mons and 6mons following surgery ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Overall health score [ Time Frame: pre-operatively and at 24hrs, 6wks, 3mons and 6mons following surgery ]
  • Percentage change in anterior cervical soft-tissue thickness on plain lateral radiographs [ Time Frame: pre-operatively and at 24hrs, 6wks, 3mons and 6mons following surgery ]
  • Cost-effectiveness [ Time Frame: 6mons after surgery ]

Enrollment: 40
Actual Study Start Date: June 6, 2006
Study Completion Date: July 31, 2013
Primary Completion Date: July 31, 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Control
Patients randomly assigned to this group will have no changes in the ETT during surgery
Procedure: Maintaining a normal pressure in the ETT cuff
No manipulation to maintain a low pressure of 15 mm Hg in the ETT cuff
Experimental: Treatment group
Patients in this group will undergo same surgery as control group but with a monitoring and manipulation of ETT pressure
Procedure: Maintaining low (15mmHg) ETT cuff pressure
Manipulation of the ETT cuff pressure to hold a lower pressure of 15 mmHg

Detailed Description:

Post-operative dysphagia is a well-documented complication of anterior cervical spine surgery (ACSS) with an estimated risk of 30 - 50% that patients will experience some degree of post-operative swallowing dysfunction. While symptoms often subside within 6 months the impact of swallowing difficulties may be far reaching within the health-care system. Patients may be at risk of aspiration pneumonia and require swallowing assessments and modified diets. These measures necessitate a prolonged hospital stay. Patients may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications and steroids which can inhibit bony fusion, which is an essential component of healing and ensuring spinal stability following ACSS.

The ultimate goal of this project is to determine the effect of minimizing ETT cuff pressure on the frequency of post-operative dysphagia following ACD. We believe that maintaining the ETT cuff pressure at 15mmHg will decrease the incidence of post-operative dysphagia - a direct benefit to the patients in the treatment group. Maintaining the ETT cuff pressure at 15mmHg would require no additional intra-operative equipment or modification to existing equipment. This intervention would not modify standard operative practice or pose additional risks to patients. As a result the cost-to-benefit ratio of this intervention may be substantially favourable to patients and the health care system.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Between 21 and 65 years of age
  • Must be competent to give consent
  • Undergoing a first time anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) with instrumentation to remove pressure from the nerve roots caused by bone spurs or herniated disc material which is documented by a diagnostic procedure (CT and/or MRI)*.
  • Ability and willingness to participate in routine follow-up at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months following surgery*.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Previous anterior neck surgery
  • Anterior neck malignancy
  • Tracheostomy.
  • Previous treatment for dysphagia
  • Pregnancy
  • Women of childbearing potential who are not using an effective method of contraception.
  • Medical comorbidities (e.g. significant renal or hepatic disease) which, in the investigator's opinion, may interfere with the patient's suitability and participation in the study.
  Contacts and Locations
Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00332683

Canada, Ontario
London Health Sciences Center, University Campus
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A5A5
Sponsors and Collaborators
Lawson Health Research Institute
Principal Investigator: Neil Duggal, M.D., M.Sc. Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Center
  More Information

Apfelbaum RI, Kriskovich MD, Haller JR. On the incidence, cause, and prevention of recurrent laryngeal nerve palsies during anterior cervical spine surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Nov 15;25(22):2906-12.
Bazaz R, Lee MJ, Yoo JU. Incidence of dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery: a prospective study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002 Nov 15;27(22):2453-8.
Frempong-Boadu A, Houten JK, Osborn B, Opulencia J, Kells L, Guida DD, Le Roux PD. Swallowing and speech dysfunction in patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: a prospective, objective preoperative and postoperative assessment. J Spinal Disord Tech. 2002 Oct;15(5):362-8.
Ratnaraj J, Todorov A, McHugh T, Cheng MA, Lauryssen C. Effects of decreasing endotracheal tube cuff pressures during neck retraction for anterior cervical spine surgery. J Neurosurg. 2002 Sep;97(2 Suppl):176-9.
Riley LH 3rd, Skolasky RL, Albert TJ, Vaccaro AR, Heller JG. Dysphagia after anterior cervical decompression and fusion: prevalence and risk factors from a longitudinal cohort study. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2005 Nov 15;30(22):2564-9.
Smith-Hammond CA, New KC, Pietrobon R, Curtis DJ, Scharver CH, Turner DA. Prospective analysis of incidence and risk factors of dysphagia in spine surgery patients: comparison of anterior cervical, posterior cervical, and lumbar procedures. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Jul 1;29(13):1441-6.
Sperry RJ, Johnson JO, Apfelbaum RI. Endotracheal tube cuff pressure increases significantly during anterior cervical fusion with the Caspar instrumentation system. Anesth Analg. 1993 Jun;76(6):1318-21.
Tu HN, Saidi N, Leiutaud T, Bensaid S, Menival V, Duvaldestin P. Nitrous oxide increases endotracheal cuff pressure and the incidence of tracheal lesions in anesthetized patients. Anesth Analg. 1999 Jul;89(1):187-90.
Vanderveldt HS, Young MF. The evaluation of dysphagia after anterior cervical spine surgery: a case report. Dysphagia. 2003 Fall;18(4):301-4.

Responsible Party: Lawson Health Research Institute
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00332683     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R-06-225
First Submitted: May 31, 2006
First Posted: June 2, 2006
Last Update Posted: August 28, 2017
Last Verified: August 2017

Keywords provided by Lawson Health Research Institute:
spine surgery
cuff pressure

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Deglutition Disorders
Esophageal Diseases
Gastrointestinal Diseases
Digestive System Diseases
Pharyngeal Diseases
Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases

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