Suction catheters are hollow tubes that extract fluid from a person's airway. They are used in conjunction with a suction machine to remove mucus, saliva, or other debris from the upper airway and trachea. One end of the catheter attaches to an aspirator or collection canister, while the other is placed into a trach tube for extraction.
A suction catheter has a valve on the end that allows the user or caregiver to control the flow of suction. Suction catheters have either a chimney valve or a directional valve. A chimney valve has a large opening on the control vent that helps minimize residual suction. A directional valve has a firm but flexible tip that makes it easy to insert and withdraw.
Suction catheters are available in different diameters, known as the French size. It is important to choose the proper French size. If the tube is too small, it may not remove secretions from the airway properly. If the opening is too large, it can block the trach tube and make breathing difficult. Directional valves are color coded, making it easy to identify the French size.
Express Medical Supply carries individual suction catheters as well as as suction catheter kits. The kits contain the suction catheter as well as supplies like gloves, a solution cup, or suction catheter tray. The solution cup is flat when it is in the package and pops up when it is ready to use. The tray gives you a clean surface to work from and your supplies can be placed in the tray during suctioning. Suction catheter kits are convenient and affordable.