A Market Review of Available Airway Suction Technology

Sarah A. Johnson, Ryann S. Lauby, R. Lyle Hood, Robert A. De Lorenzo, Steven G. Schauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Abstract Introduction: Airway injuries are the second leading cause of potentially survivable battlefield death and often require airway management strategies. Airway suction, the act of using negative pressure in a patient’s upper airway, removes debris that can prevent respiration, decreases possible aspiration risks, and allows clearer viewing of the airway for intubation. The most important characteristics for a portable airway suction device for prehospital combat care are portability, strong suction, and ease of use. Methods: This market review searched academic papers, military publications, Google searches, and Amazon to identify devices. The search included specific characteristics that would increase the likelihood that the devices would be suitable for battlefield use including weight, size, battery life, noise emission, canister size, tubing, and suction power. Results: Sixty portable airway suction devices were resulted, 31 of which met inclusion criteria - 11 manually powered devices and 20 battery-operated devices. One type of manual suction pump was a bag-like design with a squeezable suction pump that was extremely lightweight but had limited suction capabilities (vacuum pressure of 100mmHg). Another type of manual suction pump had a trigger-like design which is pulled back to create suction with a firm collection canister that had increased suction capabilities (vacuum pressures of 188-600mmHg), though still less than the battery operated, and was slightly heavier (0.23-0.458kg). Battery-operated devices had increased suction capabilities and were easier to use, but they were larger and weighed more (1.18-11.0kg). Conclusion: Future research should work to lighten and debulk battery-operated suction devices with high suction performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • airway
  • combat
  • portable
  • prehospital
  • suction military

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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