Intubation Cube: Cleveland Clinic Keeps Med Staff Safe


CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— The sickest COVID patients sometimes need to rely on mechanical ventilation to breathe. For those on the hospital frontlines, intubating a patient can be risky. One hospital has designed a way to put COVID patients in a protective “bubble” during these procedures intubation cube

Emergency care workers are often covered from head to toe in personal protective equipment, masks and gloves. At the Cleveland Clinic, those caring for COVID patients now have one more piece of safety gear at their disposal, intubation cubes.

“We came up with the measurements, and then we made some drawings using just a pencil. Then we talked to our clinical engineer department here at Cleveland Clinic they were very supportive, and we made our first prototype,” explained Bassel Akbik, MD, Critical Care at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital.

The cubes are portable and are designed to cover a patient during intubation. They’re made from a clear material allowing doctors to easily visualize the patient while inserting a breathing tube, and still be protected.

“Then they could work with hands under the drape and manipulate the airway as much as they needed to and if the patient did cough or sputter or anything like that. It would aerosolize, but just go on the inside of the drape,” illustrated Daniel Napierkowski, MD, President of Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital.

Another layer of protection for those on COVID’s frontlines.

Here’s something to think about: for patients’ with COVID-19 and other patients requiring isolation, caregivers use an average of sixty-six pieces of personal protective equipment each day. The intubation cubes are another tool in their arsenal.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive & Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at:





REPORT:       MB #4781

BACKGROUND: In the United States, there are currently more than four million cases of COVID-19 and 150,000 deaths. COVID mainly spreads from person to person via respiratory droplets that are produced when a COVID positive patient sneezes, coughs, or talks. These droplets can then travel through the air and land on another person’s mouth, nose, or eyes and travel into the body, primary into the lungs. Spread is mostly likely to occur when people are in close contact with one another, under six feet or closer, and have no respiratory protective equipment like facial masks that cover the mouth and nose.


CURRENT RISKS: Most severe COVID patients require mechanical ventilation and intubation by a medical professional. COVID has been confirmed to spread through aerosolization from person to person and the viral extent of the airway is very high and very contagious which creates a serious problem and risk for those preforming the intubation. In a recently reported 138 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 41.3 percent were considered acquired infection from the hospital, and more than 70 percent of these patients were healthcare providers. Healthcare professionals must be geared up with personal protective equipment such as a N95 mask, face shield, goggles, fluid resistant gowns and gloves. To limit proximity, they are also performing under a time constraint.


NEW OPTIONS: Cleveland Clinic med staff and engineering team have developed an intubation cube to encase patients while clinicians preform intubation. With this tool, healthcare providers can work well to manipulate the airway of the COVID positive patient while still being protected from potential sputters, coughs, or simple exhalation of the patient. The tool is a clear transparent barrier that can be disposed of. Daniel Napierkowski, MD, President of Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital said, “So, it gives the opportunity to intubate the patients safely, protect the rest of the room so none of these particles are floating around and exposing the rest of the OR staff to the virus.”

(Source: Daniel Napierkowski, MD, President of Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital)






If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at