How to suction via a tracheostomy
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How to suction via a tracheostomy

Nicola Credland Lecturer in critical care and advanced practice, University of Hull, Hull, England

Rationale and key points

Patients with a tracheostomy tube may be unable to cough adequately to expel pulmonary secretions. Therefore, tracheal suction is essential in managing secretions and maintaining respiratory function and a patent airway. Tracheal suction reduces the risk of consolidation and atelectasis that may lead to inadequate ventilation.

Respiratory assessment of the patient should be carried out to identify when tracheal suction is required.

A suction pressure of 80-120mmHg is recommended, and suction should last no longer than 15 seconds.

Reassurance and support should be given to the patient to minimise any discomfort and distress that may result from tracheal suction.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

How you think this article will change your practice when performing tracheal suction.

How you could use this resource to educate your colleagues.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at:

Nursing Standard. 30, 28,36-38. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.28.36.s46


Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 06 August 2014

Accepted: 02 February 2015