University of Nottingham

iTraXS smart endotracheal tubeEndotracheal tube with the light on

In critically ill patients, and under anaesthesia, endotracheal tubes play a vital role in maintaining an open airway, allowing artificial ventilation, and preventing aspiration of fluid into the lungs.

However, artificial ventilation, whilst necessary, often leads to other serious conditions such as post-intubation stenosis, affecting a patient’s ability to breathe and speak, and  ventilator-associated pneumonia, which prolongs recovery and can be fatal. These complications are influenced by tracheal cuff design and use, in particular the quality of the contact between the cuff and the trachea, the pressure applied, and the effect of this pressure on local tracheal blood flow.

Avoiding tracheal damage and ventilator-associated pneumonia

Developed with NIHR i4i funding (II-LA-0813-20008), our iTraXS (intra tracheal multiplexed sensing) tube has incorporated optical fibre sensors into the cuffs of the tube which can measure tracheal contact pressure and blood flow, humidity, temperature, oxygen saturation and biofilm thickness. We aim to be able to optimise the level of inflation of the seal of the endotracheal tube to minimize tracheal injury during intubation as well as reduce the incidence of pneumonia.

Working towards clinical trials

In collaboration with medical device company P3 Medical and anaesthetists from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, we successfully completed proof of principle studies including our first in human series.

In 2020, the team won a grant from the Medical Research Council to accelerate development of the tube, working towards clinical trial 

Read the 2020 Press Release

Endotracheal tube P3 package

Key contacts

Professor Steve Morgan, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Dr Ricardo Correia, Assistant Professor in Optical and Bioelectronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

Professor Jon Hardman, Professor & Consultant in Anaesthesia, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences


Key papers

Intra-tracheal multiplexed sensing of contact pressure and perfusion, Correia, R (2022)

Optical fibre sensing at the interface between tissue and medical device, Correia, R (2017)

Optical fibre sensing during critical care, Hernandez, F.U. (2017)


iTraXS was runner up at the 2018 AAGBI awards for Innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Pain