Devices that are used in patient care processes in areas such as hospitals, ambulances and homes and that provide liquid or particle extraction by vacuum method are called surgical aspirators. Thanks to its high suction power, it can also be used in surgeries and emergencies. In hospitals, it is usually found in intensive care, operating rooms and emergency units. Apart from that, it can be used in almost all branches of the hospital. It is available in every ambulance for emergencies. It cleans the blood, vomit, mucus and other particles left in the mouth or escaping into the trachea. It is used for aspiration of home care patients, especially those with tracheostomy. The excretion vacuumed by the device is collected in the collection chamber. There are disposable models as well as reusable models of these chambers. Cleaning and renewing the accessories and filters used in surgical aspirators at certain times minimizes the risks to the health of both the patient and the user, while ensuring that the device provides long-lasting service.
Surgical aspirators are available in different power types according to the needs. There are different vacuum capacities according to the purpose and place to be used. In the ENT units of the hospitals, there are aspirator devices with a capacity of 100 ml/minute produced for use in the ear. Absorption capacity of 100 ml/min means a very low value. The reason for using such low-capacity devices in ENT units is to avoid damaging body parts with very sensitive structures. Dentists, on the other hand, generally prefer aspirators with a capacity of 1000 ml / minute to draw fluid from the mouth. This value refers to the vacuum capacity of 1000 ml per minute, that is, 1 liter per minute. Apart from these, devices with different capacities have also been produced for other body fluids. Even surgical aspirators with a flow of 100 liters/minute are available. Except for special cases, devices in the range of 10 to 60 liters/minute are mostly used.
There are also portable surgical aspirators manufactured for home or ambulance use. They are available with and without batteries. These devices, which are not very heavy and portable, can be operated without the need for a battery during travel, or the battery of the device, if any, can be charged thanks to the vehicle adapters. The weight of portable devices varies between 4-8 kg. Those without batteries are relatively light, while those with batteries are heavier. The vacuum capacities of portable surgical aspirators are approximately 2-4 times lower than the devices used in operating rooms. The capacity of aspirators used in operating rooms is generally between 50 and 70 liters/minute, while the capacity of portable ones is generally between 10 and 30 liters/minute.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 liter collection jars (containers) are used in surgical aspirators. These jars are made of plastic or glass and can be found on the device in single or double form. Some are autoclavable (sterilization with high pressure and temperature). These types of jars can be used repeatedly. Some are disposable.
Portable surgical aspirators usually use a small-capacity single jar. For operational aspirators, 5 or 10 liter jars are used in pairs. This is because too much body fluid can come out during the surgery. When the capacity of the collection jar is large, more liquid can be stored. The collection jars in all kinds of surgical aspirators can be easily removed from the device, emptied and re-inserted into the device.
A float safety system is used to prevent the liquid accumulated in the collection jars from escaping into the device. This part on the lid on the jar is made to prevent liquid from entering the aspirator if the jar is completely filled with liquid and is not noticed by the user.
The tissues of babies, children and adults are of different softness. Therefore, different vacuum settings can be preferred. In addition, it may be necessary to change the vacuum setting according to the density of the liquid to be aspirated. There is an adjustment button on the surgical aspirators in order to adjust the vacuum pressure. By turning this button, the desired maximum vacuum value can be adjusted.
What are the Types of Surgical Aspirators?
There are several models of surgical aspirators diversified according to their purpose. These can be examined in 4 main categories: battery-operated surgical aspirator, battery-free surgical aspirator, manual surgical aspirator and thoracic drainage pump:
- Battery Operated Surgical Aspirator
- Battery-Free Surgical Aspirator
- Manual Surgical Aspirator
- Thoracic Drainage Pump
Battery and battery-free devices are portable or non-portable surgical aspirators that can be used in hospitals, ambulances and homes. They are suitable for use in home patient care, in an emergency situation in an ambulance, or during operation or at the bedside in the hospital. Manual surgical aspirators, on the other hand, work by hand and can be used easily even in the absence of electricity. It is usually kept as a backup for emergencies.
The thoracic drainage pump works a little differently than surgical aspirators. Normal surgical aspirators continuously vacuum in working condition. The thoracic drainage pump, on the other hand, vacuums intermittently. It is used when low volume and flow rate is required. Another name is thoracic drainage pump.
How to Clean Surgical Aspirators?
Contamination occurs in surgical aspirators due to continuous contact with waste body fluids and thus the risk of infection occurs. This risk threatens both patients and device users. Therefore, the devices must be cleaned regularly.
There are several important points in cleaning surgical aspirators. Especially after each use, physiological saline (SF) fluid must be drawn into the device. If saline is not available, this process can also be done with distilled water. By drawing SF liquid or distilled water to the device, the hoses and device parts that come into contact with body fluids are cleaned. This reduces the risk of infection.
As the devices are used, the collection jar fills up. When full, it should be emptied and cleaned thoroughly. For household appliances, this can be done with dishwashing liquid. The cover of the collection container should also be cleaned. It is beneficial to empty and clean the container at least once a week without waiting for it to be completely filled.
The cleaning of the collection containers in the devices used in hospitals may be slightly different. If the collection container is very usable, sterilization should be done as necessary. Processes such as autoclaving or sterilization with chemicals can be applied. If the collection container is not reusable, it should be replaced with a new one. Disposable collection containers can be thrown into medical waste bins when the process is finished.
The hose set of surgical aspirators should also be kept clean. The hose set can be single or reusable. Reusable ones are silicone hose. After the hoses are used for a while, they get dirty and start to turn black. In such a case, it should be properly cleaned or replaced with a new one. Aspiration catheters (probes) used for the aspiration process, on the other hand, should be discarded after use as they are kept in sterile packages and should be used by removing the new package in another operation.
When to Change the Filters of Surgical Aspirators?
A safety mechanism, such as the safety mechanism provided by the float in the collection container of surgical aspirators, is also provided by the aspirator filters. These filters are installed between the vacuum inlet on the device and the collection jar. The filters not only prevent microorganisms that may cause infection from entering the device, but also prevent the device from malfunctioning by completely losing its permeability (hydrophobic filter) when it comes into contact with water or moisture. These are called surgical aspirator filters, bacteria filters, or hydrophobic filters. Thanks to the use of filters, device, patient and environmental health are protected.
Hydrophobic filters prevent bacteria, viruses and other particles from entering the device and prevent liquids from entering the engine of the device. It is usually changed once a month. It should be changed at least every two months. It can be understood from the image of the filter that it is time to change. When the inside of your filter starts to turn black, it's time to change. The old one should be thrown into the medical waste bin and the new one should be attached to the device.