The medical field has come a long way since ancient times in terms of advancement and enhancement of techniques adopted for swift and precise treatment. Science and technology have been very kind to the field when it comes to brainstorming new methods and inventing both simple and complicated machines to assist medical professionals in providing safe results. The Suction Machine is one such invention


A suction machine is a device used to remove excess secretions such as blood, saliva, vomit, etc., and clear the airway for the patient to breathe properly. These secretions if left unattended may block the passage of air which would result in choking, pulmonary aspiration, and other dangerous conditions. This process of removing mucus and fluids from the nose, mouth, or back of the throat usually with medical devices such as a manual suction unit or a machine is referred to as Suctioning. There are three ways a suction machine can be operated 




The components of a suction machine

suction pump,


patient tubings, 

disposable canister with lid, 

rechargeable battery, 

power cord 

bacteria filter. 

These components may vary according to the use and complexity of the machines. The selection of suction machines is done based on the criteria of their suction force, reliability, and high performance. Today these machines are made lightweight, portable, and technologically sophisticated. Some of these suction machines even have provisions for adjusting vacuum pressure to regulate it according to the needs of respective patients.


A suction pump works by atmospheric pressure; when the piston is raised, creating a partial vacuum, atmospheric pressure outside forces water into the cylinder, whence it is permitted to escape by an outlet valve.

Suctioning is ‘the mechanical aspiration of pulmonary secretions from a patient with an artificial airway in place’. The procedure involves patient preparation, the suctioning event(s), and follow-up care. … Nasotracheal suction may be undertaken directly via the nostril without an airway adjunct.

Suctioning can be performed through an endotracheal tube, a tracheostomy tube, the mouth, or the nose. There are two separate suctioning techniques, namely the closed and open system. Basic principles of suctioning are the same, and care should be incorporated during suctioning.

In surgery, suction can be used to remove blood from the area being operated on to allow surgeons to view and work on the area. Suction may also be used to remove blood that has built up within the skull after an intracranial hemorrhage.

In many hospitals and other health facilities, suction is typically provided by suction regulators, connected to a central medical vacuum supply by way of a pipeline system.

Types of Suction Machine

· Manual suction devices: They are relatively simple, handy for emergencies, and do not need any electricity to work. 

· Stationary suction machines: They were considered highly reliable, consistent and effective but had a huge drawback in terms of issues of portability. 

· Portable suction machines: They are highly recommended and suitable for both medical professionals and patients since they are lightweight which makes them easy to carry around. They have advances in aspirators and battery technology.


1. Plug the suction machine into a grounded outlet.

2. Check that the tubing from the machine to the collection jar is on and snug.

3. Check that the lid to the collection jar is closed tightly.

4. Attach the extension tubing to the collection jar.

5. Turn the machine on and kink the extension tubing to block the flow of air.

If the pressure gauge did not move when kinking the tubing, recheck all of your

connections. Look for leaks in the system. The lid may not be closed tightly; a tube may

not be on properly or the tube is punctured.

6. Look at the pressure gauge. Using the control dial, set the gauge pressure between 15” and

20” of Hg. (for an adult)

a. An infant or a child will use less pressure. Consult with your doctor or call our therapist.

7. After the pressure is set, connect the oral suction device (Yankauer Suction Tip) or suction

catheter to the suction extension tubing.


• Electric or battery-powered aspirator with pressure gauge and collection jar with overflow


• Suction catheters (sized appropriately)

• Tap water that has been boiled and stored in a closed, clean container. Water needs to be

used within 24 hours of boiling to flush the catheter.

o Water from the tap that is not boiled will increase the risk of contamination and infection.

• Clean or sterile disposable gloves

• A manual resuscitator bag (for hyperinflation of the lungs if medically indicated)

• An oxygen source (when pre-oxygenation is medically indicated)

• Sterile normal saline (for instillation when medically indicated)

• Oral suction device (Yankauer Tonsil Tip)

• Sterile distilled water, and/or recently boiled water and cleaning solution (alcohol or hydrogen



Whenever possible, the patient should be encouraged to clear the airway by directed cough or other

airway clearance techniques. The patient’s response to suctioning during their stay in the acute care

or long-term care facility should be made a part of the discharge summary and the health care

professional establishing the patient in the home should request this information.


The caregivers or family members that will be taking care of the patient should be taught the proper

suction techniques by qualified hospital personnel. The caregivers or family members should be

trained to understand:

• When it is necessary to suction

• What type of suctioning is needed (oral vs. nasal tracheal)

They should be trained as to when it’s necessary to pre-oxygenate, perform normal saline installations, use the resuscitator bag to hyper-inflate the lungs and then deepen the suction.


It is common and perfectly acceptable to use clean versus sterile techniques during suctioning in the home environment.

Clean, non-sterile disposable gloves should be used when performing nasal tracheal deep suctioning.

Gloves may not be necessary when using the tonsil tip suction device. (Yankauer Suction).

When deep suctioning and using a catheter, do not keep the suction engaged for longer than 5 seconds at a


When using a tonsil tip suction device, do not suction for more than 10 seconds.

After the suctioning event, flush the catheter or tonsil tip by suctioning recently boiled water or

distilled water to rinse away mucus, followed by suctioning of air through the device to dry the internal surface

and discourage microbial growth. The outer surface of the device may be wiped with alcohol or hydrogen

peroxide. The suction catheter or tonsil tip should be allowed to air dry and then stored in a clean, dry area.

The suction

catheters treated in this manner may be reused. It is recommended to replace the suction catheter every

24 hours. Tonsil tips can be boiled and reused indefinitely. Store the cleaned catheter or tonsil tip so that

they are not directly exposed to the air. (Cover with clean, lint-free, paper towels, or store in a clean container).

Before, during, and after the suction procedure, you need to be monitoring the patient.

Don’t suction needlessly. Only suction the patient if they are in distress, or you see or hear ‘wet’ breath sounds.

When suctioning, look at the patient. Don’t become so engrossed with the procedure that you become

unaware of the patient’s reactions and responses. Remember; don’t actively keep the suction on for more than

5 seconds if using a catheter and performing deep suctioning or for 10 seconds if using the tonsil tip. Let the patient regain their breath.

Observe the patient after the suctioning procedure. Are the visible secretions gone? Has the gurgling wet

breath sounds stopped or at least greatly diminished? Does the patient appear more comfortable and less

distressed? Observe the skin color. (Including the presence or absence of cyanosis).

Get into the habit of monitoring their pulse rate before and after you suction. Take their blood pressure and

Oximetry if you have the equipment.

Look at the color of the sputum. Are there any changes in the color? Keep your doctor’s office informed of the

color changes. Is there an odor to the sputum? Again, keep the doctor’s office informed.


The suction canister should be emptied daily and washed, along with the connecting tubing, in hot water and

mild dishwashing detergent. Rinse with clean, hot tap water. It is recommended that these items be disinfected daily with a solution of one part white vinegar and 3 parts water. Allow the items to soak for 30 minutes and then rinse with clean, hot tap water. All caregivers should practice reasonable infection control procedures in the home setting. Patients should be protected from visitors and caregivers with active viral and bacterial infections. Or the opposite is true if the patient has yet to be diagnosed with the organism they are carrying which could be spread to others by droplet infection.


● In surgery, suction can be used to remove blood from the area being operated on to allow surgeons to view and work on the area. 

● To irrigate the side for sucking and washing out the excess water 

● Draining blood from operation sites and allows the surgeon better visibility

● To clean debris from a wound and to drain pus from an abscess 

● Suction may also be used to remove blood that has built up within the skull after an intracranial hemorrhage. 

● To suck out Mucus that might be obstructing the airways or other body parts

● To remove blood from the cranium after an intracranial and extradural hemorrhage 

● In gynecological processes, it allows for better vision to drain the excess fluid ● In dentistry for draining the blood and irrigation fluid 

● Suction machines may also be used in cases when someone has a moist cough and is not able to clear secretions from the throat effectively. 

● To drain fluid from the lungs in those patients with kidney issues or other major diseases 

● To drain excessive edematous fluid from the peritoneal cavity in patients with ascites 

● As constant intubation to offer drainage from a surgical site where fluid or pus may collect 

● Effective in sucking foreign bodies from the ear or nose or other places


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