UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Tracheal Rapid Ultrasound Exam (T.R.U.E.)

Keywords: ultrasound, tracheal intubation, esophageal intubation, critical care, airway (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/30/2011 by Haney Mallemat, MD
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  • Multiple methods of confirming endotracheal tube placement exist, however quantitative waveform capnography is the most reliable method. Unfortunately this may not be immediately available at all medical centers.

  • Recent studies demonstrate that bedside ultrasound may assist in the detection of proper endotracheal tube placement.

  • The T.R.U.E. (Tracheal Rapid Ultrasound Exam) was demonstrated to be 99% sensitive, 94% specific, 99% PPV, and 94% NPV during intubation.

  • The basic exam involves placing a high-frequency linear-array probe on the anterior neck above the sternal notch and identifying the trachea and esophagus during intubation.


Chou, H. et al. Tracheal rapid ultrasound exam (T.R.U.E.) for confirming endotracheal tube placement during emergency intubation. Resuscitation. Jun 2011

Werner SL,et al. Pilot study to evaluate the accuracy of ultrasonography in confirming endotracheal tube placement. Ann Emerg Med 2007;49:75–80.

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