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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2013 Jan;31(1):80-5.
doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Sep 1.

Head Position Angles to Open the Upper Airway Differ Less With the Head Positioned on a Support

Affiliations
Randomized Controlled Trial

Head Position Angles to Open the Upper Airway Differ Less With the Head Positioned on a Support

Thomas Mitterlechner et al. Am J Emerg Med. .

Abstract

Introduction: The aim of the study was to assess the effects of positioning the head on a support on "head position angles" to optimally open the upper airway during bag-valve mask ventilation.

Methods: We ventilated the lungs of anesthetized adults with a bag-valve mask and the head positioned with (n = 30) or without a support (n = 30). In both groups, head position angles and ventilation parameters were measured with the head positioned in (1) neutral position, (2) in a position deemed optimal for ventilation by the investigator, and (3) in maximal extension.

Results: Between groups ("head with/without a support") and between head positions within each group, head position angles and ventilation parameters differed (P < .0001, respectively). However, head position angles and ventilation parameters between head positions differed less "with a support" (P < .001), and ventilation parameters improved with a support compared with the head-without-a-support group (P < .001).

Conclusions: In the head-with-a-support group, when compared with the head-without-a-support group, head position angles differed less, indicating a decreased potential for failure during bag-valve mask ventilation with the head on a support. Moreover, in the head-with-a-support group, ventilation parameters differed less between head positions, and ventilation improved. These findings suggest a potential benefit of positioning the head on a support during bag-valve mask ventilation.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00869648.

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