ET Tube suction. - page 3

by Sun*shine

4,617 Views | 26 Comments

Hello. I'm really new to neonates and I'm loving it so far. My main concern is I'm underconfident when it comes to suctioning a Et tube. I know how to do it, but I struggle with when to do it, if I should use saline, how many... Read More


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    No,often lung sounds would not be enough, alone, for me to suction. There are times when you can hear that it's needed, but it's not always the case.
    Sun*shine likes this.
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    Quote from Bortaz, RN
    Especially for our microrottens, my rule of thumb is that we don't suction them unless we see stuff in the ett, or if the baby obviously needs it aeb desatting and other clinical presentations (including sounding crunchy). I watched a nurse deep suction a 23.6 weeker one night ("on schedule")...not five minutes later, blood gushed up into the ETT, and 10 minutes later, I was shrouding the baby for the morgue. This nurse is a 30 year vetern of the NICU, but sometimes they are the last to accept new standards.
    Bortaz, this story freaks me out!! On our unit, we suction routinely every 2-4 hours. It has always either helped the patient by getting rid of all the gunk in there and improving O2 sats or maintained status quo. I've never seen suctioning actually hurt a patient. I've only been in NICU for 7 months though and have only had a handful of micro-preemies.
    Sun*shine likes this.
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    We stopped routine suctioning years ago. It isn't that good for the kids. RDS is not a secretion producing problem and micronates should only be suctioned when needed as it can cause trauma and increase pressures and cause bleeds, especially in the first 72 hours. We usually only do hands on care with our intubated kids every 6 hours, including suctioning unless they show signs of needing it, desats, increased working, really junky breath sounds.
    Sun*shine and twinkletoes53 like this.
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    we don't use inline suction either. We do suctioning 2-3 hours but i prefer doing it 3-4 hours interval unless the baby has desat and i can hear secretions. When I started my orientation at the NICU, the common practice was to use saline flush to loosen secretions. I had to go online for any EB lit on the use of saline to assure myself that I'm not shoving a foreign body to my baby's lungs. Most research i found though does not recommend the use of saline because it increases the risk for infection and a worsening oxygenation esp if the patient doesn't have a cough reflex.
    Over the years, I noticed that most of the saline I instill in the ET I don't get back when i suction. (). Naturally, that makes me nervous. I don't routinely use saline nowadays, but when I do, I use 0.5-1ml. Oh, and btw it is routine in our unit to do CPT with all back tapping, vibration and stuff. I was shocked at first especially since most of the RTs working in our hosp are males and they're quite rough so yeah, even if it's annoying to be doing somebody's job, I'd rather not let those RTs touch my baby.
    Sun*shine likes this.
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    We use saline for thick and difficult to suction secretions despite being well aware that the evidence is inconclusive. I think the reason we are still willing to do it is because clinically, we see results from it. I am unsure about this practice however this is what more senior nurses think on our unit.
    Sun*shine likes this.
  6. 2
    Suctioning is touchy and being gentle and nervous is a good quality honestly. If your suction catheters do not have millimeters/centimeters marked on them and/or your ETTs don't have measurements on them either then I would recommend suggesting this.

    In adults suctioning is pretty cave-man. Jam it in there until you meet resistance, suction on the way out.

    In Neonates suctioning can be pretty touchy. Make sure your suction pressure is low enough (I think 80cmH2O is the recommendation)

    Be gentle, advance the catheter in and "line up" your measurement lines, and then suction on the way out. Slower (in my experience) is better because I can do a single pass and not risk destroying their FRC repeatedly where I'd have to make multiple passes if I went fast. If I don't get anything, I don't do another pass. If I get giant "Boogz" as I like to call secretions, I will do another pass.

    I assess for suctioning Q1 to Q3 but I typically actually suction Q6-Q12, I don't routine suction and we do not allow routine suction orders by providers (MD/NPs)

    I almost never, ever use saline for anything except purging the suction catheter. I cannot remember the last time I lavaged with saline during a suction.

    I tried to find an online education thing but all I can find are bedside sheets to to write down depths for the bedside from the companies that make the in-line catheters.
    Sun*shine and Bortaz, RN like this.
  7. 0
    All your comments have been really intersting and helpful. Honestly it's so good to get people's insight into suction practice in different units. I feel more confident now with it, although I'll still be asking someone to stand by me until I feel ready to do it on my own.


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