Open and closed endotracheal suction systems in mechanically ventilated intensive care patients: A meta-analysis

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Closed suction systems (CSS) are increasingly replacing open suction systems (OSS) to perform endotracheal toilet in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients. Yet effectiveness regarding patient safety and costs of these systems has not been carefully analyzed.


To review effectiveness of CSS and OSS, with respect to patient outcome, bacterial contamination, and costs in adult intensive care unit patients.

Data Source:

Search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases and a manual review of article bibliographies.

Study Selection:

Randomized controlled trials comparing CSS and OSS in adult intensive care unit patients were retrieved.

Data Extraction/Synthesis:

Assessment of abstracts and study quality was performed by two reviewers. Data were combined in meta-analyses by random effect models. Fifteen trials were identified. No significant differences were found in incidences of ventilator-associated pneumonia (eight studies, 1,272 patients) and mortality (four studies, 1,062 patients). No conclusions could be drawn with respect to arterial oxygen saturation (five studies, 109 patients), arterial oxygen tension (two studies, 19 patients), and secretion removal (two studies, 37 patients). Compared with OSS, endotracheal suctioning with CSS significantly reduced changes in heart rate (four studies, 85 patients; weighted mean difference, −6.33; 95% confidence interval, −10.80 to −1.87) and changes in mean arterial pressure (three studies, 59 patients; standardized mean difference, −0.43; 95% confidence interval, −0.87 to 0.00) but increased colonization (two studies, 126 patients; relative risk, 1.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.12–2.04). CSS seems to be more expensive than OSS.


Based on the results of this meta-analysis, there is no evidence to prefer CSS more than OSS.

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