Nursing::Nursing::Nasopharyngeal Suctioning

Nasopharyngeal Suctioning

Version No:002Date Issued:9/1/1996
Date Approved:8/1/2000Approved By:Lois Hoell, DNS
Date(s) Revised:9/96, 8/00
Revised By:



Source: Director of Nursing

Policy No.

Page 1 of 1

Areas Affected: All Patient Care Areas


Cross Reference:

Origination Date:

Revised: 9/96

Reviewed: 9/96, 8/00

Std/Reg. TX

Approved by: /s/Lois E. Hoell



Remove secretions from the pharynx by means of a suction catheter to maintain a patent airway, promote pulmonary gas exchange, and help prevent infections caused by accumulated secretions.


Nasopharyngeal suctioning is performed to facilitate a patent airway.


A. Equipment:

1. Oxygen - to supply 100% mask

2. Wall suction set-up

3. Sterile H2O

4. Glove and catheter (select appropriate catheter size. Adults, #12 or #14 French; Children #6, #8, or #10 French; Infants, Pediatric Feeding Tube)

B. Obtain physician's order.

C. Wash hands. Place a small amount of sterile water or water-soluble lubricant on patient's bedside table to be used to lubricate the catheter during procedure.

D. Place patient in semi-fowler's position.

E. Hyperextend patient's neck to facilitate catheter insertion.

F. Apply sterile glove.

G. Measure the proper length of the catheter (from nares to tip of the earlobes). Remember, glove and catheter are sterile - do not contaminate.

H. Lubricate the catheter with sterile water or water-soluble lubricant prior to insertion.

I. Oxygenate with 100% O2 mask for 10-20 seconds prior to (and after) suctioning.

J. Instruct patient to cough and deep breathe prior to suctioning.

K. Insert the catheter. Listen for airway sounds transmitted through the catheter. If absent, withdraw catheter into pharynx; repeat above. The absence of airway sounds suggests entry into the esophagus. Suction for 10-15 seconds with pressures no greater than 60-80 cm H2O. If the catheter feels like it is "grabbing", release pressure and try again. This will reduce the incidence of mucosal damage.

L. Observe patient. Re-oxygenate.

M. Discard the catheter, water and glove. Wash hands.

N. Document the procedure on Acuity C and the patient's response in the Progress Notes