This post is an excerpt taken from our complementary ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.



In its 2010 publication, Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science, the American Heart Association states: “Both portable and installed suction devices should be available for resuscitation emergencies.” 


Yet, many hospitals still do not stock these lifesaving devices. 


Purchasing an emergency medical suction device represents the ultimate commitment to patient safety. Even in large hospitals, generator failures and natural disasters can cause the installed suction systems you rely on to fail.


When your patient has a compromised airway in an area where wall vacuum is not available, or when your wall suction goes down, how will you manage?

If you’re considering equipping your hospital with portable emergency suction devices, you may have a lot of questions, such as:


  • How many devices do we need?
  • Can our own bioengineers service these devices?
  • Will we need to invest in additional consumables to use these devices?

This eBook provides answers to those questions and others. You may want to keep this guide handy to help with the decision-making process leading up to your emergency medical suction purchase.

Let’s look at the most important considerations regarding purchasing portable medical suction devices.


Why Portable Emergency Suction?

You can’t predict where an airway emergency might occur. In a hospital setting, visitors and patients alike can collapse far away from an installed suction port in the wall. You need to deliver lifesaving care wherever the emergency occurs.

And sometimes, installed suction can fail system-wide. In that event, you need portable suction machines so your staff can care for intubated patients without interruption. Furthermore, certain federal rules and regulations require a hospital to provide care to patients who present outside the walls of your building, far from areas set up for patient care.


Here are the top four reasons every hospital should consider equipping its facilities with portable emergency suction devices:

  1. It enables your emergency department staff to render aid in locations up to 250 yards from the facility, as required by EMTALA.
  2. It enables staff to clear the airway quickly when far away from installed vacuum. For example, during patient transport, in procedural areas such as Radiology, and in non-patient care areas such as hallways, elevators, dining facilities and waiting rooms.
  3. It allows your staff to provide continuity of care in situations where wall suction fails for any reason.
  4. It can enhance your disaster preparedness if you commit to stocking alkaline battery-powered devices.


How Many Devices Does a Facility Need?

Many hospitals determine the number of portable emergency suction devices needed by following the informal rule of pairing one emergency medical suction device with every crash cart. This is a convenient way to calculate how many units your facility may need.

However in some cases, one unit per crash cart may not be enough and you may want to stock multiple devices in certain locations. For example:


  • Critical care departments may hold multiple intubated patients who will be vulnerable to injury in the event in-wall suction goes down throughout the facility.
  • In the emergency department, stocking multiple portable suction devices offers a backup system for patients inside the facility and allows you to treat patients who present off-campus, thereby complying with EMTALA’s “250-yard rule”.


It’s also important to consider public areas, because no one can predict where an airway emergency might occur on your campus.

The easiest way to determine how many portable suction machines you need is to calculate the total number of crash carts in your facility, and then add additional units for the critical areas referenced above.


To learn more about what to take into consideration when buying a portable emergency suction device, download the full guide here or by clicking below.