Say No to injecting saline before suctioning trache

The latest issue of American Journal of Critical Care has a clinical evidence review that finds that injecting saline into a trache before suctioning provides no positive benefits and is possibly harmful.1 The recommendation is to stop this practice and thin mucous by keeping the patient hydrated and using mucolytic agents.

I was especially anxious to see this article published because I came to the same conclusion last year while doing a research review for med-surg. In fact, I thought the evidence was so clear that I was going to try to publish a paper about it as soon as I graduated. Now I've been beat to it!! So I am pleased to see my perspective validated by seasoned professionals, but annoyed that a publishing opportunity was taken away.
  1. Halm & Krisko-Hagel. (2008). Instilling normal saline with suctioning: Beneficial technique or potentially harmful sacred cow? American Journal of Critical Care, 17(5), 469-472.

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