Patient preference for in-exsufflation for secretion management with spinal cord injury

J Spinal Cord Med. 2000 Summer;23(2):80-5. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2000.11753511.


An important aspect of respiratory management in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is the elimination of secretions. Methods utilized for secretion management in patients with SCI includes endotracheal suctioning and mechanical in-exsufflation (MI-E). Surveyed here is a group of patients with SCI who have had experience with both endotracheal suctioning and MI-E via tracheostomy, to determine patient opinions and experiences regarding the 2 techniques. The survey was administered to 18 patients with traumatic SCI, with an average age of 34. 72% were ASIA A, 22% percent were ASIA B, and 6% were ASIA C, with neurological level of injury ranging from C-1-T-3. Results indicate that patients found MI-E significantly less irritating (p < 0.001), less painful (p < 0.001), less tiring (p = 0.01), and less uncomfortable (p < 0.001) than endotracheal suctioning. In a direct comparison, 89% of patients preferred mechanical in-exsufflation to suctioning. In addition, 89% of patients found MI-E faster, 78% found MI-E more convenient, and 72% found MI-E more effective than suctioning. This study demonstrates that all measured aspects of patient experience are more positive for MI-E than for endotracheal suctioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Therapy* / psychology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Suction* / psychology
  • Tracheostomy* / psychology