suction apparatus and its uses

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what is suction apparatus? 

A suction apparatus, also known as an aspirator, is a medical device used to eliminate fluids or gases like mucus, vomit, blood, saliva, serum, or other secretions from the body cavities of a patient. These cavities may include the lungs, mouth, or even the skull.

Suction apparatuses find utility in various situations, including when a patient is unconscious, experiencing vomiting, or having seizures. They are also employed during ongoing medical procedures. Whether it is a single-jar suction apparatus or a double-jar suction apparatus, these devices serve several essential functions in pre-hospital, in-hospital, and continuous patient care beyond just removing obstructions:

  • Preventing pulmonary aspiration by clearing the airways.
  • Preventing the backflow of liquids into the body.
  • Facilitating breathing by maintaining clear air passages.
  • Inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.
  • Allowing medical professionals to work in the targeted area without interference.

Suction apparatuses play a critical role in maintaining patient well-being and supporting various medical procedures by effectively and safely removing fluids or gases from the body.

what are the different types of suction apparatus 

Suction apparatuses have evolved, starting from manual devices in the 1860s to modern electrical machines. Today, different types of hospital suction machines are available, catering to various medical needs.

  1. Manual suction machines: These devices operate without electricity or batteries, making them portable and suitable for emergencies outside the hospital. They are compact, lightweight, and easy to use.
  2. Wall-mounted suction machines: Installed in hospital rooms or ambulances, these electrical machines provide reliable and consistent suction. They require a constant power supply and are commonly used during surgeries as part of standard medical procedures.
  3. Portable suction machines: Portable suction machines are designed for mobility, portable suction machines run on batteries and can be easily moved from one location to another. They are lightweight, user-friendly, and handy for patients receiving palliative care or those unable to clear secretions independently, such as individuals with COPD, cystic fibrosis, or ALS. In emergencies like accidents or respiratory emergencies, portable suction devices can be life-saving tools.

These various types of suction apparatuses ensure that medical professionals have access to efficient suction capabilities in different settings, allowing for adequate airway clearance and removing fluids or secretions from patients’ body cavities.

how to use suction machines? 

Suction machines use negative pressure to remove secretions from a person’s oral cavity. The device consists of several components that work together to create this negative pressure:

  1. Vacuum pump: This component generates the negative pressure required for suctioning.
  2. Connecting tubes: These tubes connect the vacuum pump to the collection canister.
  3. Sterile patient tube: This tube carries the secretions from the patient into the collection canister.
  4. Disposable canister: The canister holds the secretions and prevents contamination of other parts of the suction machine.
  5. Filters: Filters are used to prevent contamination of the internal components of the suction machine by viruses, bacteria, dust, and gases.
  6. Batteries and power cord: These power the machine for operation.

To use the suction machine, follow these steps:

  1. Wash and disinfect your hands.
  2. Turn on the device and connect the connecting tubes.
  3. Attach a clean and dry suction catheter to the connecting tubes.
  4. Position the patient flat on their back or seated with a rolled towel under their shoulders.
  5. Use sterile or distilled water to lubricate the catheter and check the machine’s functionality.
  6. Carefully insert the catheter into the tracheostomy tube, ensuring their lengths match.
  7. Place your thumb over the suction vent and remove it within 5-10 seconds.
  8. Allow the patient to rest and repeat suctioning if necessary.
  9. Once the procedure is complete, turn off the machine and discard the catheter.

Cleaning the suction machine is crucial, as some parts are single-use and should be disposed of properly. Non-disposable parts require frequent cleaning to remove hazardous contaminants. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while handling contaminated waste and dispose of single-use parts according to local medical waste disposal protocols.

Avoid introducing substances like grease or oil into the machine’s components, and refrain from excessive water use or abrasive cleaners that may damage the parts.

Following proper usage and cleaning guidelines ensures the safe and effective operation of the suction machine, promoting patient care and preventing contamination risks.


At Portea, we offer a range of healthcare services, including suction apparatus for rent or purchase. Suction apparatus plays a vital role in medical settings, particularly in emergencies. 

To ensure optimal functioning, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding operation and cleaning procedures. Our team is dedicated to providing you with high-quality healthcare equipment and services, ensuring the best care for your needs.


1. What is the use of suction apparatus in hospitals?

A suction apparatus, or aspirator, is used in hospitals to extract gases or fluids, including mucus, vomit, blood, serum, saliva, or other secretions from various body cavities such as the lungs, mouth, or even the skull. It plays a crucial role in maintaining airway clearance, assisting in medical procedures, preventing aspiration, and enabling effective patient care by removing unwanted substances or fluids from the body cavities.

2. How long should you suction a patient?

When suctioning a patient, staying within a maximum suction time of 15 seconds is essential. Prolonged suctioning can lead to oxygen deprivation. After suctioning, it is crucial to provide the patient with supplemental oxygen to ensure adequate oxygenation.

3. How many times can you suction a patient?

The frequency of suctioning a patient varies depending on individual circumstances, such as the amount of secretions and the patient’s ability to clear them. While there is no definitive consensus, assessing airway patency and attempting suctioning at least every 8 hours is generally recommended. The need for suctioning may vary and should be determined based on the patient’s condition and clinical judgment.

4. What is the precaution for the suction machine?

An essential precaution when using a suction machine is to avoid prolonged suctioning. Suctioning a patient for more than 15 seconds increases the risk of complications and hypoxia. Instead, it is recommended to withdraw the catheter, provide the patient with supplemental oxygen, and proceed with suctioning if necessary. This approach helps minimize the risk of oxygen deprivation and ensures safer suctioning practices.

5. How often should you suction someone?

The frequency of suctioning varies depending on the individual patient’s needs. Some patients with excessive mucus production may require suctioning every 30 minutes, while others only need it once or twice per shift. The frequency should be determined based on a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition and the presence of secretions that need to be cleared.

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