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The knowledge and practice of ICU practitioners with regard to the instillation of normal saline solution during endotracheal suctioning.

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Background Instillation of nonnal saline before suctioning is a common nursing intervention although little research supports the practice. Objectives To detennine when and how often saline is used during suctioning and to assess the knowledge of nurses and respiratory therapists of the advantages and dangers of using saline during endotracheal suctioning. Methods A survey of nurses and respiratory therapists working in adult and neonatal intensive care units was conducted in three large teaching hospitals in the UAE. Results Of the 81 respondents, 38 (47%) rarely instil saline before suctioning, whereas 20 (25%) frequently use saline. Seventy-four percent use saline to enhance retrieval of secretions, and 72% use it to stimulate cough. Nurses and respiratory therapists differ in their use and understanding of saline instillation. Most nurses (56%) rarely use saline before suctioning, whereas most respiratory therapists (37%) frequently use saline. Respiratory therapists (93%) were more aware than were nurses (61%) of the benefit of using nonnal saline to stimulate a cough. Respiratory therapists considered oxygen desaturation as a major adverse effect of saline instillation in comparison to nurses who stressed on pulmonary infection as a major side effect. Conclusion The results of the survey indicates that the practice of these professionals are not in line with most recent research results in the area and indicate a need for in-service education.


Thesis (M.Cur.)-University of Natal,Durban, 2002.


Intensive care nursing., Critical care medicine., Nursing--Decision making., Respiratory intensive care., Wounds and injuries--Nursing., Theses--Nursing.