Suctioning a tracheostomy
How do I suction my tracheostomy tube?
Suctioning removes secretions that you cannot cough out or clear from your airway. It keeps your airway open and helps you breathe better.
Supplies you will need
- Suction catheter (keep the package)
- Connection tubing
- Suction machine
- Clean tap water
- Steps to suction
Steps to suction a tracheostomy
- Turn on the suction machine with the pressure set on the low-to -medium setting.
- Connect the suction catheter to the tubing on the suction machine.
- Dip the suction catheter tip into the clean tap water.
- Take 4 to 5 deep breaths.
- Gently put the suction catheter into the tracheostomy tube as far as you can without forcing it. Do not cover the suction control vent with your thumb while putting the catheter into your tracheostomy tube.
- Pull the suction catheter back out a little bit before you start to suction.
- Cover the suction control vent with your thumb to start suctioning. Do not suction for more than 10 seconds each time. Turn or twist the suction catheter as it is taken out.
- Remove your thumb from the suction control vent if you feel the catheter pull during suctioning.
- Wait 20 to 30 seconds between each suction try. After 3 tries, wait 5 to 10 minutes before suctioning again.
Put the suction catheter into the trachestomy tube.
Cover the suction control vent with your thumb to start suctioning.
Cleaning and storing suction supplies
Rinse the suction catheter and connection tubing with clean tap water after each use. Store the catheter in the original package until the next use. Do not reuse the catheter if it touches anything else.
One suction catheter should be used for as long as your medical supply company tells you, unless you have an infection. If you have an infection, the suction catheter needs to be changed more often. The suction machine needs to be kept clean. Empty and clean the bottle and tubing with hot, soapy water each day. Always rinse with clean tap water and let it air dry.