Choosing Suctioning Vacuum Pressure

MicahW

Forum Crew Member
31
6
8
Hey guys,
So I was wondering how you guys choose the pressure on your suction units. The ones we use are quite old and only have an on and off setting (that I know of). Recently, though, I have seen many companies using suction units with variable vacuum pressure.

I have heard that it is different for different procedures (i.e. suctioning the pharynx vs. suctioning an ET tube) but how do you choose the actual pressure? Do you start at one setting and work your way up?

Thanks!
 

MS Medic

Forum Captain
323
44
28
Our trucks have the adjustable pressure. There's also a gauge that shows how much pressure is built up. I just watch SPO2 and the pressure gauge. Rarely do you need to suction long enough at a time that either one becomes a problem.
 

TomB

Forum Captain
393
82
28
I set mine for 300 mm Hg. Any higher than that and you end up snagging the inside of the patient's cheek. I frequently see the suction set in the red zone. It's something very few people pay attention to.
 

medicaltransient

Forum Lieutenant
162
32
28
I use full pressure for almost all situations. For a chest tube I use very low pressure. I would turn it down for nasal french suctioning in a pediatric but It would have to be an extra special situation for me to do that.
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
4,809
1,186
113
In the ER, I use either "line" for sucking lots of stuff out of the oropharynx or if I'm using the suction on an NG tube it's set somewhere between 80 and 100 mmHg.
 

ThadeusJ

Forum Lieutenant
240
69
28
Many years ago, two of the healthcare licensing boards got together to write co-ordinated patient care standards and they decided that the first one would be suctioning since it would be cut and dried easy. After hiring a epidemiologist to collect data and research it was determined that many of the standard pressure settings were not based on any research whatsoever but was copied from one paper to the next (and the original paper was a recommendation based on not much). Many places quote 120 mmHg but you want more if you need it (hence a max lock in the 300 range). Mind you, too high can cause tissue trauma and bleeding which leads to more complications.

A lot of it depends on what you're planning on sucking out. The 100 mmHg range for oropharyngeal clearance with the option of going higher is a safe bet.
 
Top