Secretions and suctioning: General knowledgeSSecretions and suctioning: General knowledgeSecretions and suctioning: General knowledgeEnglishRespiratoryChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)Lungs;TracheaRespiratory systemNon-drug treatmentCaregivers Adult (19+) Hospital healthcare providersNA2017-06-29T04:00:00ZReshma Amin, MD, FRCPC, MSc;Faiza Syed, BHSc, RRT;Tuyen Tran, RRT000Flat ContentHealth A-Z



Secretions and suctioning: General knowledge2927.00000000000Secretions and suctioning: General knowledgeSecretions and suctioning: General knowledgeSEnglishRespiratoryChild (0-12 years);Teen (13-18 years)Lungs;TracheaRespiratory systemNon-drug treatmentCaregivers Adult (19+) Hospital healthcare providersNA2017-06-29T04:00:00ZReshma Amin, MD, FRCPC, MSc;Faiza Syed, BHSc, RRT;Tuyen Tran, RRT000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<h2>​​What are secretions?</h2><p>Secretions (mucus) are normally produced in the nose, mouth and trachea. Secretions are usually clear or white and are either coughed up or suctioned out of the lungs. </p><p>A change in the colour, amount, consistency or smell of secretions may be the first sign that your child is getting sick or that something else is wrong.</p><p>The following are different types of secretions that your child may have and their common causes.</p><p></p><table class="akh-table" border="1" style="width:100%;"><thead><tr><th scope="col">Secretion characteristics​<br></th><th scope="col">Potential causes</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td><ul><li>Thickened</li></ul></td><td><ul><li>Not enough humidity </li><li>Dehydration</li><li>Chest physiotherapy has just been performed</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><ul><li>Yellow or green</li><li>Foul smelling</li><li>Increased production</li></ul></td><td><ul><li>Infection</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><ul><li>Red-streaked or bloody</li></ul></td><td><ul><li>Post-tracheostomy surgery</li><li>Trauma to the trachea from suctioning/trach tube change</li><li>Infection</li><li>Granulation tissue</li><li>Tracheo-innominate fistula (abnormal communication between the trachea and a nearby blood vessel, which can cause massive bleeding)</li><li>Not enough humidity in the secretions</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><ul><li>Frothy pink</li></ul></td><td><ul><li>Fluid build-up in the lungs</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td><ul><li>Brown</li></ul></td><td><ul><li>Old blood</li><li>Infection</li></ul></td></tr></tbody></table><p></p><p> <strong>Important:</strong> If you notice a change in the colour, amount, smell or consistency of your child's secretions, contact your healthcare team immediately.</p><h2>What is suctioning?</h2><p>Suctioning involves removing excess secretions from the nasal cavity (area behind the nose), mouth, throat, trachea (windpipe) and tracheostomy tube. It is usually done with a devic​e called a <a href="/Article?contentid=2928&language=English">suction machine</a>.</p><h2>Why do I need to suction my child's airway?</h2><p>You need to suction your child's airway because your child needs help to clear secretions so they can breathe more easily. When your child has a tracheostomy tube, it is important to suction it regularly so that it does not become blocked.</p><h2>When do I need to suction my child?</h2><p>Most children need to be suctioned at least three or four times a day. In particular, your child needs to be suctioned when:</p><ul><li>their cough is more frequent or sounds more congested than usual</li><li>they are having trouble breathing or their breath sounds are harsh</li><li>you can see secretions in the tracheostomy tube or ventilator tubing</li><li>you can hear a gurgling noise while your child is breathing</li><li>the ventilator airway pressures are higher than normal</li><li>you suspect aspiration (your child has inhaled food)</li><li>your child is about to eat, if your child is able to eat by mouth.</li></ul><h2>What are the different types of suctioning?</h2><p>There are five ways to suction your child's airway:</p><ul><li> <a href="#nasal">nasal suction (suctioning the area behind the nose)</a> </li><li> <a href="#oral">oral suction (suctioning the mouth)</a></li><li> <a href="#tip">tip suctioning</a></li><li> <a href="#tube">tube suctioning</a></li><li> <a href="#deep">deep suctioning.</a></li></ul> <figure class="”asset-c-100”"><span class="asset-image-title">Types of tracheostomy tube suctioning</span><img src="" alt="Tip, tube, deep suctioning lengths in a cross section anatomy drawing" /> </figure> <h3 id="nasal">Nasal suctioning</h3><p>With <a href="/Article?contentid=2930&language=English">nasal suctioning</a>, a catheter is passed through the nose to the back of the throat.</p><h3 id="oral">Oral suctioning</h3><p>For <a href="/Article?contentid=2931&language=English">oral suctioning</a>, you use a large, plastic suction catheter called a Yankauer to suction secretions in the mouth. The suction catheter has a large hole that you cover with your thumb to start suctioning, along with smaller holes along the end, through which the mucus passes.</p><p>It is useful when your child is:</p><ul><li>unable to remove secretions by coughing (for example, they have a weak cough)</li><li>drooling because they cannot swallow.</li></ul><h3 id="oral">Tip suctioning</h3><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2932&language=English">Tip suctioning</a> involves using a catheter to suction mucus from just the opening of the tracheostomy tube.</p><h3 id="tip">Tube suctioning</h3><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2933&language=English">Tube suctioning</a> involves removing mucus from the full length of the tracheostomy tube, including just past the far end of the tube.</p><h3 id="deep">Deep suctioning</h3><p> <a href="/Article?contentid=2934&language=English">Deep suctioning​</a> lets you remove mucus from your child’s airway between the end of the tube and the carina (the part where the trachea splits into the bronchi, the tubes that go into the lungs).</p> <a class="btn btn-primary" href="">Return to trach-vent learning hub</a><br>Secretions and suctioning: General knowledgeTrue

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