Anyone who has ever used a portable suction unit knows the importance of power and reliability. Suction units, like any other piece of lifesaving equipment, must be durable, effective, and able to tackle the most difficult of airways.
But how much thought do you give to your suction accessories? If it’s been awhile since you’ve considered your portable suction accessories, here’s a brief overview of the vital role they play in effective suction.
Choose the Appropriate Catheter
Suction catheters are no longer one-size-fits-all. Because patient secretions come in many forms—blood, sputum, and vomit—it only makes sense to have an assortment of suction catheters on hand, depending on your patient’s condition. Why use a typical suction catheter on vomit or trauma when there are larger, more effective catheters available?
What about patient size? Patients come in a range of sizes, from the smallest neonates to the morbidly obese. Why use the same suction catheter when you can select the appropriate tip based on your patient’s airway? For small patients, a smaller tip provides greater control and access. Larger patients can present difficult angles and shorter necks, making visualizing the cords nearly impossible, especially in the presence of fluid. Now there are specially designed catheters that follow the natural curvatures of the oropharynx, greatly enhancing your suctioning ability and expediting tube placement.
Portable suction units come in a range of sizes, making them perfectly suited for any scenario. The outer casing of your unit must offer ease of control and weather resistance and be able to withstand the rough-and-tumble environment of emergency scenes. It must also be small enough to stow or light enough to carry, so consider your equipment needs when choosing the proper size of your unit.
Just as suction units come in a range of sizes, they also utilize a range of power sources. What are your needs? Rechargeable batteries are the norm, but perhaps you want a unit that can utilize alternative power sources, such as alkaline batteries. What about disaster scenarios? When your suction needs outpace your battery supplies, perhaps units that run on disposable alkaline batteries would be a better option. Portable suction units are useless without reliable power sources, so be sure to choose the option that’s right for you.
Choose Your Tubing
Finally, your suction tubing must be as durable and effective as the suction unit itself. Why use a state-of-the-art suction unit alongside low-grade tubing? Suction tubing provides the valuable link between your patient and your unit, so don’t skimp when it comes to this important accessory. And, suction tubing comes in different sizes. Fact: The shorter the tubing is, and the larger the inner diameter, the more efficient the suction. And the differences are significant.
Your portable suction unit provides lifesaving intervention to patients experiencing respiratory emergencies. So, outfit your suction unit with the best accessories available. It is money well-spent.