A suction machine, or medical aspirator, is used to remove bodily fluids from a patient’s respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. Various models and accessories are available to accommodate inpatient and outpatient care, emergency transit, cleanup, and waste disposal. Aspiration can lead to increased congestion, blockages, and even asphyxiation.

Parts of a Medical Aspirator

  • Base – the base of a suction machine stabilizes the pump, canister, and bracket.
  • Pump – the pump draws air from the canister creating a siphon enabling the draw of fluids from the body into the canister.
  • Canister – the suction canister collects bodily fluids and is labeled with graduated markings for easy measurement of materials.
  • Tubing – tubing runs from the canister to the suction tip or catheter which directly draws material from the body.
  • Suction Tip – suction tips and catheters are available in various sizes and styles to accommodate various suctioning applications.

Suctioning Equipment

Aspirator - Suction MachineSuction machines are available in a variety of styles and sizes for various applications. Dependencies include the amount of fluids to be drawn, the strength requirements of the pump, and the amount of portability required.

Manufacturers of suction machines and equipment include companies such as Mada Medical, Drive Medical, Invacare Corporation, and Allied Healthcare, among others. Accessories are available from these companies as well as from brands such as Bemis, Trademark Medical, and Amsino.

Risk of Pulmonary Aspiration

Multiple events may present the risk of pulmonary aspiration including certain medical applications, consciousness, pulmonary and esophageal functioning, and even issues choking or swallowing. Most individuals experience a mild aspiration in situations such as eating or drinking where something travels toward the windpipe rather than the esophagus. Common risks that warrant the usage of a medical aspirator include caring for bed-bound patients and the use of feeding tubes.

Effects of Pulmonary Aspiration

Without the assistance of a suction machine, pulmonary aspiration can lead to injury or death. This may result in an obstruction, degradation of the esophagus or respiratory system, or even lead to bacterial infection.

Filters and Fluid Control

Contamination and disposal are always a concern in medical procedures. For this reason, suctioning applications typically require some sort of filtration and fluid disposal. Bacteria filters are available to protect the pump from trapping contaminants that may escape the canister during suctioning. These are inexpensive and replaceable. To facilitate fluid control and cleanup, there are solidifiers available that absorb hazardous fluids into specially formulated crystals creating a safe, odorless solid.

Suctioning Considerations

Due to the hazardous nature of the materials being drawn from the body, care should always be taken to prevent contamination. Some considerations include:

  • Always wear protective equipment including gloves, gowns, eye protection, and respirator masks.
  • Replace all disposable equipment such as tubing, suction tips, catheters, bacteria filters, and canisters with each procedure.
  • Never overfill suction canisters, make sure that the size you have selected is appropriate for the procedure.
  • Suction in short intervals not continuously as this can draw oxygen from the lungs leading to an increased risk of asphyxiation or loss of consciousness.
  • Use a fluid control solidifier and appropriate biohazard disposal procedures for disposing of waste materials.
  • Always consult a medical professional if using suctioning equipment at home.