Effects of face mask ventilation in apneic patients with a resuscitation ventilator in comparison with a bag-valve-mask

J Emerg Med. 2006 Jan;30(1):63-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2005.02.021.


Bag-valve-mask ventilation in an unprotected airway is often applied with a high flow rate or a short inflation time and, therefore, a high peak airway pressure, which may increase the risk of stomach inflation and subsequent pulmonary aspiration. Strategies to provide more patient safety may be a reduction in inspiratory flow and, therefore, peak airway pressure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of bag-valve-mask ventilation vs. a resuscitation ventilator on tidal volume, peak airway pressure, and peak inspiratory flow rate in apneic patients. In a crossover design, 40 adults were ventilated during induction of anesthesia with either a bag-valve-mask device with room air, or an oxygen-powered, flow-limited resuscitation ventilator. The study endpoints of expired tidal volume, minute volume, respiratory rate, peak airway pressure, delta airway pressure, peak inspiratory flow rate and inspiratory time fraction were measured using a pulmonary monitor. When compared with the resuscitation ventilator, the bag-valve-mask resulted in significantly higher (mean+/-SD) peak airway pressure (15.3+/-3 vs. 14.1+/-3 cm H2O, respectively; p=0.001) and delta airway pressure (14+/-3 vs. 12+/-3 cm H2O, respectively; p<0.001), but significantly lower oxygen saturation (95+/-3 vs. 98+/-1%, respectively; p<0.001). No patient in either group had clinically detectable stomach inflation. We conclude that the resuscitation ventilator is at least as effective as traditional bag-valve-mask or face mask resuscitation in this population of very controlled elective surgery patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apnea / therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Masks*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Resuscitation / instrumentation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventilators, Mechanical*