One of the functions of the muscles of the rib cage is to generate a cough capable of expelling bronchial secretions.
When, for some reason, the respiratory muscles cannot provide the force to produce an adequate effort to generate an effective cough, it is necessary to perform some technique on the patient that allows the expectoration of secretions.
Failure to manage respiratory secretions can lead to a serious life-threatening situation. This situation of poor control of secretions is exceptional in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but it is also frequent in some less prevalent processes, such as cystic fibrosis, acute or chronic bronchitis or some neuromuscular diseases, etc.
The aspiration of secretions consists of the removal of saliva and respiratory secretions from the oral cavity or upper airways by aspiration with a probe inserted through the nose or oral cavity. Given the poor relationship between the benefits it provides and the problems it produces, it should only be used when any other attempt such as chest physiotherapy and bronchopulmonary hygiene techniques has failed.