Minimal Leak Technique
20
February

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , /


Minimal leak technique or MLT is a
method of inflating a trach tube cuff with air or water. MLT assures a trach tube cuff safely and effectively provides ventilator air from escaping around the
cuff. A patient must be on a ventilator when you fill a cuff using minimal
leak technique. First wash your hands. Clean your work surface with soap and water or a disinfecting wipe. Assemble the supplies you need for MLT. A pair of non-sterile gloves, a stethoscope, a 10 or 12 milliliter lure tip syringe,
and sterile water and a sterile container for a water-filled cuff. Next put on the gloves. Listen with a stethoscope for the sound
of ventilator air on the right or left side of the patient’s neck. Attach the syringe to the pilot balloon. Pull back the plunger and completely
deflate the cuff. Remove the syringe from the pilot
balloon. Completely depress the plunger to remove all the air or water from the syringe. Place the stethoscope in the same
location on the patient’s neck. The sound of air from the ventilator should now be
louder. Refill the syringe with air or sterile water depending on what the cuff
uses. Note the amount of air or water you put
into the syringe. Reconnect the syringe to the pilot
balloon. Place the stethoscope in the same
location and the patient’s neck. Slowly push air or sterile water into the cuff
until you cannot hear any ventilator air. Now slowly pull back the syringe plunger.
Deflate the cuff until you hear a light squeak of air from the ventilator
through the stethoscope. Detach the syringe and not the amount of
air or water that remains. Subtract this amount from the amount of
air or sterile water you pulled into the syringe. Record the amount of air or sterile
water you use to inflate the cuff with minimal leak technique. Patient position or changes in tissue
thickness can affect the seal of a cuff you filled using MLT. Recheck the cuff using MLT every two to four hours. Be sure you receive training from
someone skilled in MLT so you can correctly perform this important technique.


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