Respiratory Emergencies: When and When Not to Use Suction

You’re known as to a residence in the course of the night time. A frantic father meets you on the door and ushers you upstairs to his son’s room, the place you discover a four-year-old boy perched anxiously on the aspect of his mattress. He’s braced in a tripod place, his small arms rigidly mounted by his aspect as he leans ahead, drooling right into a puddle on the ground. The daddy seen a fever final night time when he put the boy to mattress, however is astounded by the kid’s fast deterioration.


You bounce into motion, reassuring the boy as you arrange your gear. You immediately acknowledge the 4 D’s of epiglottitis:


  • Dysphagia (issue swallowing)
  • Dysphonia (issue talking as a consequence of a bodily dysfunction of the mouth)
  • Drooling
  • Misery

Kids with epiglottitis are at excessive threat for airway obstruction, so that you mechanically arrange your transportable suction unit


However there’s a hazard to suctioning this specific affected person. So how are you aware when it’s applicable to suction and when it’s not?


 Right here’s a fast assessment.


Guide: Portable Emergency Suction: A Critial Tool In Avoiding Aspiration  Pneumonia


Indications for Oral Suctioning

Efficient suctioning is one among your most important procedures and may imply the distinction between a patent and non-patent airway. The conditions by which your affected person requires suctioning are pretty apparent. They embrace any type of airway obstruction, resembling: 


  • Extreme secretions (mucus, phlegm, saliva)
  • Blood, tissue, or tooth from traumatic accidents
  • Vomiting (keep alert to forestall aspiration!)

Contraindications for Oral Suctioning

Simply because the indications for oral suctioning are simple, so are the contraindications. On the subject of suctioning, the contraindications are simple to recollect, for there are NONE!


There’s completely no motive to withhold suctioning from a affected person with an obstructed airway. In case your affected person lacks a patent airway, anything you do for them can be for naught. This doesn’t imply you could suction with abandon. Each life-saving process requires precision and warning, so here’s a fast rundown of the attainable problems of suctioning:


  • Hypoxemia – probably the most vital to recollect!
  • Trauma – don’t do extra harm to an already sick affected person!
  • An infection – attempt to maintain it clear when working round mucous membranes!
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias – look ahead to indicators of elevated cardiac workload! 


Though there are potential problems with oral suctioning, there are a couple of simple steps to take to keep away from them. These steps embrace: 


  • Pre-oxygenating your affected person for a minimum of 30 seconds previous to suctioning to forestall hypoxemia
  • Utilizing warning and correct method when suctioning to forestall harm to delicate oral tissues
  • Stopping contamination by holding your suction unit clear and disinfecting after EVERY use
  • Fastidiously monitoring your affected person whereas suctioning, ideally with cardiac monitor, capnography, blood strain and pulse oximetry.

So let’s return to our younger affected person… As a paramedic, you realize one of many main risks with sufferers affected by epiglottitis is swelling of the airway that may result in full obstruction, which is why you preserve a peaceful surroundings and maintain oral invasive procedures to a minimal.


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Kids with epiglottitis will be very troublesome to intubate, and also you don’t wish to do something that might irritate an already tenuous airway. So aggressive oral suctioning is one thing you need to keep away from. So long as the drooling doesn’t impede the airway, merely let the affected person drool and maintain them ready of consolation. However maintain that suction unit helpful, for you by no means know if you may want it!


Editor’s Word: This weblog was initially printed on November 2021. It has since been up to date with present content material. 




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