Hurst dilators are reusable, flexible silicone-based devices that are more commonly used for dilatation of benign esophageal sphincters but are also used off-label for bougienage. Most pediatric centers will have access to these through their operating or endoscopy suites. For emergency physicians who do not have easy access to one of these, we offer a potential alternative made of products commonly found in every emergency department across the country.
Assembling an Alternative to the Hurst Dilator
After gathering the equipment (Figure 1), you’ll need to cut the tip of the endotracheal (ET) tube in a perpendicular manner at the distal aspect of the cuff, as shown in Figure 2. Try to avoid forming any sharp corners on the ET tube when making this cut. For the smallest children, likely between 1 and 2 years old, you’ll have to trim the ET tube proximal to the cuff so that the Foley balloon reaches the end of the ET tube. Next, you’ll take the proper-sized Foley and feed it through the ET tube, as in Figure 3. Inflate the balloon to the specified amount (see Table 1) with sterile water and then pull traction on the Foley through the opposite end of the ET tube so that the Foley balloon is held firmly against the distal tip of the ET tube. The operator can either maintain traction on the device throughout the procedure or secure it with tape (see Figure 3).
This can now serve as your substitute for a Hurst dilator for the bougienage procedure.
The ET tube is necessary for the production of an alternative to a Hurst dilator because the Foley catheter alone does not provide enough rigidity to manipulate and advance the coin. If you were to use the Foley catheter without the addition of the ET tube, you may be able to reach the esophageal coin but not successfully advance it into the stomach. Please use this alternative device at your own discretion because use of this device has not been studied to support its use for bougienage.