During mechanical ventilation, patients are connected to the ventilator by an endotracheal tube. The tube needs to be cleaned from mucus by suction, which can cause negative effects such as lung collapse, hypoxemia and desaturation. These can be avoided by preoxygenation, change of ventilator settings, use of closed suction systems and recruitment manoeuvres. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of endotracheal suction during different ventilator settings and by different suction methods. A method to reverse side effects was investigated.
In anaesthetized pigs, the effect of suction during volume and pressure-controlled ventilation was investigated, and the effect of different suction systems and catheter sizes were compared. Suction efficacy was investigated in a bench study. The effect of recruitment manoeuvre added after suction, i.e. post-suction recruitment manoeuvre was evaluated.
Endotracheal suction causes lung volume loss leading to impaired gas exchange, an effect that is more severe in pressure-controlled ventilation than in volume-controlled ventilation. When 14 French suction catheters were used more side effects were found compared to 12 French catheters, but no difference was found between open and closed suction system in pressure-controlled ventilation. Open suction system was more effective to remove mucus compared to closed system. Post-suction recruitment manoeuvre restored the side effects after the first recruitment when it was applied directly after suction.
In conclusion, open endotracheal suction causes impairment in gas exchange and lung mechanics, and more so in pressure-controlled than in volume-controlled mode. These changes can be minimized if smaller suction catheters are used. A post-suction recruitment manoeuvre applied directly after suction restores lung function. It is obvious that the recruitment manoeuvre should be added directly after suction, because if the manoeuvre is delayed and the lung is collapsed and left collapsed, it will be more difficult to recruit the lung.