COVID 19 – Medela’s portable medical surgical and airway suction devices offers safer alternative to piped vacuum systems


Medela Healthcare mobile suction devices – a safer alternative to wall vacuum – can help expand critical care capacity and support UK hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.

Used in Europe and worldwide, the company’s portable medical suction machines are designed to provide crucial suction and fluid removal during respiratory treatment provided with ventilators.

Traditionally, hospitals ensure a patient’s airway is clear by utilising suction that relies on central wall piped vacuum. However, guidance published by the National Health Service (NHS) advises hospitals against using piped vacuum to support infectious disease units (IDU) to reduce the risk of virus spread and cross-contamination.

A previous study looking at contamination rates for wall-mounted suction units discovered contamination on over 30% of devices. Hence, portable medical suction machines are recommended for COVID-19 care.

Medela offers a range of portable suction pumps which are available with a virus filter capable of reducing cross-contamination from COVID-19 with filtration efficiency of greater than 99.99987%. These compact devices offer flexibility to hospitals while reducing the risk of viral transmission.

When used with disposable collection systems, portable suction machines reduce staff exposure to hazardous fluids, while devices equipped with virus filters further reduce risk of cross-contamination and viral exposure to staff.

Rob Rennel, Business Unit Manager at Medela comments: “Medela’s range of portable medical surgical and airway suction devices facilitate the removal of lung secretions in the inflammatory process of coronavirus – offering life-saving support to critical care patients, while mitigating risks facing staff on the frontlines.” 

Dr. Stephen Cole, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland, adds: “The new reality is that we will need to rapidly increase intensive care units (ICU) bed capacity within 2- or 3-weeks’ notice. We need to prepare, need to plan, need to stock the hardware that we need such as ventilators, suction pumps and monitors.”

While most patients with COVID-19 recover over time without the need for special treatment, in more critical cases the infection can trigger pneumonia, causing the lungs to become more inflamed and fill with fluid.

Research shows approximately 14% of COVID-19 patients require hospitalisation and oxygen support, while a further 5% require admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and supportive therapies such as intubation and ventilation.

Standard of care in the ICU requires each patient to be provided with a single suction device, which helps to decrease the risk of lung infections, prolonged hypoxia, and pooling of secretions in the lung.

About Medela:
Medela, headquartered in Baar (Switzerland) was founded in 1961 and is one of the world’s leading companies in the development and production of breast milk feeding products and medical vacuum technology solutions.  In cooperation with renowned researchers, experts and universities, Medela conducts basic and exploratory research to enhance its product portfolio improve future patient care and the quality of life of our customers. Medela has 21 subsidiaries in Europe, Americas and Asia and a sales network of independent partners in more than 100 countries. The company runs production and warehouse facilities in Switzerland, the US and China and employs over 1,800 people worldwide.