Q Does the use of a closed suction system help to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)?

A Maureen A. Seckel, RN, APN, APRN,BC, CCNS, CCRN, replies:

Tracheal suctioning is an essential component of airway management for patients requiring mechanical ventilation and it is one of the most common invasive procedures performed in any critical care unit today. The primary goals of the suctioning procedure are secretion removal in order to maintain airway patency, decrease airway resistance, achieve optimal oxygenation, and reduce infection risk.1,2 Complications of tracheal suctioning include respiratory and cardiac arrest, hemodynamic instability, hypoxia, increased intracranial pressure, bronchospasm, hemorrhage, and tracheal damage.1,3,4 

Currently there are 2 distinct methods available: open system suctioning (OSS) and closed-system suctioning (CSS), or “inline,” suctioning. OSS requires disconnecting the patient from the ventilator and introducing a single-use sterile suction catheter into the tracheal tube. Each suctioning procedure...

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