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Continuous Medical Education - Airway Suctioning

On 28th of December 2021, our physiotherapist, Miss Wan Nurul Islamiah binti Wan Ahmad has delivered a presentation in a continuous medical education session at our partner healthcare centre, Qiyuan Evergreen Care Center in Durian Tunggal, Melaka. The topic of the presentation was "Airway Suctioning".

Airway suctioning is a method of removing mucus and secretions from patients' respiratory tract when the patient is unable to do it on their own. This procedure is usually done by nurses or physiotherapists in health facilities, including emergency, intensive care, palliative, and acute settings. This procedure could be delivered through the mouth or the nasal route, medically known as oropharyngeal or nasopharyngeal suctioning.

The purpose of airway suctioning includes:

  • Maintain clear lungs and airways from secretion retention, blood or other materials.

  • To collect samples for diagnostic purposes and lab tests (eg: microbiological/histological review).

  • To maintain clear artificial airways (eg: endotracheal tube, tracheostomy tube).

However, some medical condition needs more consideration and higher precautions while undergoing airway suctioning.

Medical personnels will consider the possible adverse events that may arise during or after suctioning such as:

  • Trauma and bleeding, which means injury to the airway due or dental area to the mechanical force when inserting and pulling out the suction tubes or due to vacuum pressure during suctioning.

  • Vomiting and aspiration. The patient might vomit due to the stimulation of gag reflex and the vomit might go into the airway, causing possible airway blockage and infection and inflammation due to the presence of foreign substance in the airway and lungs.

  • Temporarily slowing down of the patient's heart rate in response of the shock due to the vacuum pressure.

  • Laryngospasm, which means the vocal cord becomes swollen, blocking the air way causing difficulties in breathing and talking.

  • Airway obstruction.

  • Increased pressure in the fluid that surrounds the brain in the skull.

  • The airway moves out of its original placement.

  • Epistaxis, which means nasal bleeding.

In the cases of pharyngeal obstruction and acute pulmonary edema, this airway clearance technique is prohibited while for patients who has fractures to the base of the skull, the procedure would only be done through the mouth route - nasal suctioning is not allowed.

Our physiotherapist explaining airway suctioning to the nursing team members at Qiyuan Evergreen Care.

Our physiotherapist demonstrating the techniques to perform airway suctioning to the nursing team members at Qiyuan Evergreen Care.

The continuous medical education session wrapped up smoothly and successfully with a question and answer session and mock cases discussions at the end of the presentation and demonstration.

We thank our healthcare partner, Qiyuan Evergreen Care Berhad for this opportunity to share knowledge on our expertise and the commitment, attention and cooperation from the nursing team members which allows the presentation and demonstration to run smoothly.

For more information on the services that we provide at Best Care Physiotherapy, click here or leave us a message in our chatbox, we promise to get back to you ASAP. Like our blog post? Leave your comment below! Thank you for reading!

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