Closed tracheal suctioning systems and infection control in the intensive care unit

B. Blackwood*, C. H. Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Closed tracheal suction catheters offer a number of microbiological advantages over the conventional single-use suction catheters. Intensive care staff, however, have experienced difficulties such as pooling of the catheter irrigation saline within the connectors, and hand contamination from condensate which escapes via the irrigation port. Using a descriptive survey design we quantified how frequently these problems occurred. Over an eight-week period, staff completed 923 survey forms. Hand contamination from condensate was reported in 61% of responses. Rinsing the catheter after use was ineffective in 39% of responses, and 70% reported pooling of the saline in the swivel and ventilator connectors. Forty-five percent of responses reported ineffective secretion removal. The infection implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998


  • Closed tracheal suction catheters
  • Contamination
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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