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Published, English language studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–98), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1974–96), and CINAHL (1982–97) using the search terms trachea, pharynx, tracheostomy, suction, artificial airway, inflation, and endotracheal, and by searching the Cochrane Library. Bibliographies of retrieved studies were reviewed.
Studies were included if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs), …
Source of funding: College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
For correspondence: Dr D Brooks, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.