Best Practices for Tracheostomy Suctioning

What are the best practices to prevent hypoxia during tracheostomy suctioning?

A) Apply suction for no more than 10 seconds

B) Maintain sterile technique

C) Lubricate 3 to 4 inches of the catheter tip

D) Withdraw catheter in a circular motion

Answer:

To prevent hypoxia during suctioning of a tracheostomy, a nurse must apply suction for no more than 10 seconds whilst maintaining a sterile technique, lubricating the catheter tip, and withdrawing the catheter in a circular motion.

Tracheostomy suctioning is a crucial procedure to ensure proper airway maintenance for patients with a tracheostomy tube. Hypoxia, or reduced oxygen supply to the body tissues, can occur during suctioning if not performed correctly. To prevent this complication, nurses must adhere to best practices:

1. Apply suction for no more than 10 seconds:

Limiting the duration of suctioning helps minimize the risk of hypoxia by preventing prolonged interruption of oxygen flow to the patient.

2. Maintain sterile technique:

Keeping the suctioning equipment and procedure sterile reduces the risk of infection for the tracheostomy patient, who may already have compromised respiratory health.

3. Lubricate 3 to 4 inches of the catheter tip:

Proper lubrication of the catheter tip helps ease insertion and minimizes potential trauma to the tracheal lining during suctioning.

4. Withdraw catheter in a circular motion:

Removing the catheter in a circular motion helps prevent damage to the tracheal walls and promotes effective suctioning without causing unnecessary trauma.

These best practices are essential for the safe and effective suctioning of tracheostomy patients, particularly in surgical or trauma settings where maintaining a patent airway is critical for the patient's health and recovery.

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