Face mask ventilation: a comparison of three techniques

Danielle Hart, Robert Reardon, Christopher Ward, James Miner
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 44 (5): 1028-33

BACKGROUND: There are multiple techniques for face-mask (FM) ventilation. To our knowledge, the one-handed vs. two-handed C-E technique has been compared in children and adults, but no studies have compared the various two-handed methods.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of mask seal using three different FM techniques on a model intended to simulate difficult FM ventilation and measure ventilation performance.

METHODS: This was a prospective randomized study of health care providers. A standard airway-training mannequin was modified to produce variable airway resistance and allow measurements of ventilation volume and pressure. Each subject performed FM ventilation for 3 min per technique (30 breaths) in a randomized order. Median exhaled tidal volume and proximal peak flow pressure were determined and compared.

RESULTS: Seventy subjects were enrolled. Both two-handed ventilation techniques were more effective than the one-handed technique by both volume and pressure measurements. The one-handed C-E technique yielded a median volume of 428.4 mL, vs. the two-handed C-E technique with 550.8 mL, and the two-handed V-E technique with 538 mL (p < 0.001). Peak pressure measurements revealed a median of 54.6 cm H2O for the one-handed C-E technique, 66 cm H2O for the two-handed C-E technique, and 66.6 cm H2O for the two-handed V-E technique (p < 0.001). There was not a difference between the various two-handed techniques.

CONCLUSIONS: This model for FM ventilation is able to differentiate the efficacy of FM techniques. Both two-handed ventilation methods were superior to one-handed ventilation, both of which should perhaps be included in airway training for health care providers.

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