small_hospital_suction_machine.jpgEmergency suction machines play a vital role in a hospital. Providing the ability to clear a patient’s airway at any location, these devices are potentially life-saving. This is particularly true for small hospitals that may not have in-wall suction available in all patient care areas.


Thankfully, emergency suction machines have come a long way over the years. Gone are the days of big, bulky pieces of equipment that don’t perform well. Instead, today’s suction machines are much more functional and reliable.


Yet, there are a wide variety of suction machines on the market. Let’s look at some of the different features that a small hospital should consider when buying emergency suction machines to help determine which machines will yield the most benefit to its patients.

Able to provide powerful, yet adjustable suction

This may be a given, but as the most essential feature of any suction machine, it bears mentioning. The hallmark of a quality suction machine is its ability to deliver instant, powerful suction. Whether it is to clear secretions from the endotracheal tube of an adult patient or to remove mucus from a newborn infant’s mouth, when an emergency presents itself, you want a machine that will work quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, with such varying patient populations, it is important that your emergency suction machine is able to adjust accordingly. The amount of negative pressure used for a neonate and child is less than it is for an adult, and a good suction machine will allow for this to be easily regulated.

Can attach to the side of a crash cart, hospital bed, or gurney

In a small hospital, your portable suction machine may need to be used in different capacities, so a machine that is multi-functional is great.  Do your crash carts seem overcrowded with supplies? Look for a machine that can be attached to the side of the cart and free up valuable space. Or do you need the ability to move your suction machine along with your patient? Look for a machine that can attach to the side of the hospital bed during transport.

Can run solely on alkaline batteries

Is your hospital located in a hurricane or tornado prone area? Does your hospital have a solid disaster preparedness plan? When suction is needed but external power is not available, there are now machines that run solely on alkaline batteries. As long as your hospital stores a good supply of these batteries, you can rest assured that this suction machine will be able to provide hours of powerful suction in any situation.




Able to function as needed during a resuscitation

During a resuscitation, it is not uncommon to need to suction vomitus or thick secretions from a patient’s oropharynx. However, some suction catheters are unable to accomplish this without getting clogged. Therefore, an emergency suction machine that offers a wide diameter suction tip option is extremely useful in these situations.

Has a clear battery level indicator

Most emergency suction machines run on AC power, with a battery backup. However, what if the unit hasn’t been properly charged? Do you want to discover that at the moment when you need suction the most? For that reason, a machine that has a clear to read battery level indicator is key, allowing you to determine that your machine is ready to go with a quick glance.

Will the suction unit accept your hospital’s standard disposables?

Your hospital has made a conscious decision to use the specific supplies it stocks and distributes to the floor.  Make sure that the suction unit you choose adapts to your supplies, rather than forcing you to adapt your standards to it.  You should be able to use the canister you stock and not have to stock special supplies for the suction machine.


As described, today’s emergency suction machines have an array of useful features. When your small hospital is considering purchasing some new devices, keep these characteristics in mind to help you make the best choices.