Endotracheal suctioning of the adult intubated patient–what is the evidence?

Pedersen CM; Rosendahl-Nielsen M; Hjermind J; Egerod I

This article reviews the available literature regarding endotracheal suctioning of adult intubated intensive care patients and provides evidence-based recommendations for practice.


The major recommendations include: suctioning only when necessary, using a suction catheter occluding less than half the lumen of the endotracheal tube, using the lowest possible suction pressure, inserting the catheter no further than carina, suctioning no longer than 15s, performing continuous rather than intermittent suctioning, avoiding saline lavage, providing hyperoxygenation before and after the suction procedure, providing hyperinflation combined with hyperoxygenation on a non-routine basis, always using aseptic technique, and using either closed or open suction systems.


Intensive and Critical Care Nursing 2009;25: 21 – 30


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