Suction Catheters

Suction catheters are medical devices that are used to remove bodily secretions from the trachea and bronchial region of a person. These products are designed to be soft and atraumatic for maximum patient comfort. One end of the tubing connects to a collection canister and an aspirator and the other end is inserted into the tracheal tube of the person to suck out the secretions. We carry high-quality suction catheters from manufacturers like Bard, Covidien/Medtronic, Medline, Cardinal Health, Transtracheal Systems, Dynarex and more.


When is suction required


Suctioning may be needed for an individual suffering from a neuro muscular disease, neurological deficit, has an artificial airway, is under sedation or on a ventilator and finds it difficult to clear the airway of mucus build-up.

A build-up of secretions in the tracheal tube is not good. If the airway gets clogged then breathing becomes labored and there is an increased risk of chest infection and associated problems. Therefore, removal of the obstruction is important with a suction catheter that is inserted into the tracheostomy tube using its natural curvature to slide inside.

Frequent and excessive suctioning can be harmful leading to increased secretions, injury, hypoxia and bradycardia. Catheter insertion should be pre-measured. Normal suctioning intervals should be every 4-6 hours with each suction episode restricted to 3 passes. Suction pressure used should be between 80-120 mmHg. Suctioning should not be for more than 5-10 seconds at a stretch. The caregiver should wait 10 seconds to allow the patient to catch his breath before suctioning again.


Types of suction catheters


There are several types of suction catheters and you can buy the type which suits your condition best based on your healthcare provider’s advice. These include closed suction catheters, latex rubber suction catheters, latex free suction catheters and rigid yankauer suction catheters.


Closed suction catheters


A closed suction catheter involves multi-use catheter tubing which is enclosed in a plastic sheath and developed to prevent suction-related infections. The sheet is removed gradually during insertion and the tubing is slid through the packaging straight into the airway. This ensures no contact with the catheter thus minimizing infection risk. This type is also known as inline suction catheter. Closed suction catheters are generally used on those who are on a ventilator and cannot be disconnected from it. They do not require disconnection of the ventilator or oxygen supply from the patient while suctioning.


What is yankauer suction catheter?


Yankauer suction catheter is a rigid, shatter-resistant oral-suctioning device with a suction tip made of firm plastic. It has a large opening surrounded by a bulbous head and is designed to provide minimum trauma during insertion and minimal damage of surrounding tissue. A Yankauer suction catheter’s appropriate use is for mouth suctioning.

Latex rubber catheters are flexible in nature and more appropriate for X-ray use because they are radiopaque.

What size suction catheter to use

The size of the suction catheter will depend on the tracheostomy tube size. The larger the number, the more its diameter. Generally, a size of 12-18 FR is used for adults, for children the size is usually 8-10 Fr while infants will require 5-8 Fr.

Medline D409 series provide all the necessities for airway clearance. Its Suction Catheter Mini Trays with Gloves 8 Fr sizes have DeLee tips and staggered Murphy eyes whereas 10Fr and larger sizes have whistle tips and lateral Murphy eyes.

The Medtronic Covidien Argyle Graduated Suction Catheter Tray with chimney valve is a popular buy with its large opening on the control vent which provides high airflow and efficient suctioning. The staggered and opposite eyelets reduces potential for invagination or blocked suction. It has a low drag catheter surface designed to allow smooth insertion into the endotracheal tube and with sizes for both pediatric and adults.

The Covidien Kendall Argyle Suction Catheter also has staggered and opposite eyelets while the AMSure Straight Pack Suction Catheters from Amsino has a whistle cap control valve to enhance procedural control.

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