Most UK critical care nurses suction the trachea during cuff deflation and extubation of patients or ask the person to cough, research into airway management techniques has indicated.
An online survey involving the British Association of Critical Care Nurses found that 461 of 533 respondents (86.5%) suction the trachea during cuff deflation and extubation. A total of 304 (57%) said they ask patients to cough as part of extubation.
The study, which is published in the Nursing in Critical Care journal, aimed to find out the current practice among UK nurses in relation to airway management during cuff deflation and extubation.
A number of different techniques are used by medics to prevent aspiration during cuff deflation and extubation of patients. No published studies have previously been produced to compare the different methods or find out which one is most widely used.
Of the 533 intensive care unit (ICU) nurses who responded to the survey, just under half (258) had more than 10 years of critical care experience and 427 (80%) of them worked in general ICU. The researchers said further clinical trials are required to identify the most appropriate and safe technique for critically ill patients.