A suction machine, also known as an aspirator, is a type of medical device that is primarily used for removing obstructions  like mucus, saliva, blood, or secretions  from a person’s airway. When an individual is unable to clear secretions due to a lack of consciousness or an ongoing medical procedure, suction machines help them breathe by maintaining a clear airway.

In practice, care professionals use suction machines as an integral part of a treatment plan when a patient’s airway is partially or completely obstructed. Some common uses include:

  • Removing respiratory secretions when the patient is unable to
  • Assisting a patient that is vomiting while seizing or unconscious
  • Clearing blood from the airway
  • Removing a foreign substance from a patient’s windpipe and/or lungs (pulmonary aspiration)

Since they can be used in conjunction with other medical technologies to treat a variety of life-threatening conditions, aspirators have become a mainstay in both pre-hospital and in-hospital settings. Given their ubiquity, it’s common to have questions about their uses and functions.

Zoll medical corporation. Official ZOLL® Site - Medical Devices - Software Solutions. (n.d.). https://www.zoll.com/resources/what-is-a-suction-machine.



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