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December 13, 1952


Author Affiliations

636 Church St. Evanston, Ill.

JAMA. 1952;150(15):1512. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680150066032

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To the Editor:  —In The Journal of Oct. 11, 1952, page 607, Dr. Leona Baumgartner provides an excellent listing of standards for the care of poliomyelitis respirator patients. There is, I believe, one serious omission. No note is made of provision for continuous suction for removal of secretion from the pharynx. Such secretion may lead to grave anoxia by blocking or spasm if allowed to remain even a few minutes. Even with a tracheotomy, saliva or other fluid may overflow into the trachea owing to loss of the protective function of the larynx.In my experience no ordinary electrical suction apparatus is adequate for this removal, especially if it is used intermittently. A Venturi type of water suction apparatus or a central vacuum tank connected through a collecting bottle to a nasal catheter with the perforated end lying where secretion accumulates (usually in the hypopharynx) keeps the pharynx clear, prevents

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