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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a closed endotracheal suction system(CES) on oxygen saturation, ventilator‐associated pneumonia(VAP), and nursing efficacy in mechanically ventilated patients. Method: This study was conducted in the intensive care unit of a University Hospital in Gwangju City. Data was collected from July to October, 2003. Seventy mechanically ventilated patients were randomly divided into two groups; 32 for CES and 38 for open endotracheal suction system(OES) protocol. Twenty one nurses were also involved to examine the nurses' attitude of usefulness about CES. Result: SaO2 was significantly different between CES and OES. The incidence of VAP in CES was lower than that of OES. Nursing efficacy was related to time, cost, and usefulness of the suction system. Time of suctioning in CES was shorter than that of OES. CES also contributed significantly to lower the cost of treatment than OES. The usefulness score of CES increased after 6 months of use. Conclusion: CES prevented VAP, was cost‐effective, and a safe suctioning system. CES can be used with patients with sensitivity to hypoxygenation and with a high risk of VAP.