Objective: Conventional cuffed tracheotomy tubes do not prevent aspiration of secretions. Aspiration of saliva may be decreased with the use of a subglottic suction port. Study Design: Prospective. Methods: Shiley Disposable Cuffed Tracheotomy (DCT) tubes sizes 4, 6, and 8 (Tyco Healthcare, Pleasanton, CA) were compared to Portex Blue Line Ultra Suctionaid (BLUS) tracheotomy tubes sizes 6, 7, and 8 (Fig 1; Smiths Medical, Watford, UK). All tubes were tested in a simulated tracheal model using 10 cc of human saliva with no suction, intermittent suction, and constant suction (15 minutes). Results: There was a significant decrease in aspirate between the larger Shiley and BLUS tubes with intermittent suction (mean 8.38 mL Shiley 6 vs 1.60 mL BLUS 7; 8.50 mL Shiley 8 vs 2.80 mL BLUS 8). There was a significant decrease in aspirate between all sizes of Shiley and BLUS tubes with continuous suction. For BLUS 7 and 8, there was a significant difference between intermittent suction (mean, 1.60 mL, 2.80 mL, respectively) and continuous suction (mean, 0.20 mL, 0.60 mL respectively). Shiley and BLUS without suction were equivalent. Conclusion: Subglottic suction tracheotomy tubes reduce the risk of aspiration beyond the cuff in a bench-top model.
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