Background and objective: To evaluate the capability of first responders to ensure an airway and ventilate the lungs of a patient employing a bag-valve device and two oxygen-driven resuscitators.
Methods: Prospective, controlled, blinded, single-centre clinical trial using a bag-valve device and one of two FR-300® devices, with 20 cmH2O working pressure, flows of 24 and 30 L min−1. One-hundred-and-four patients were analysed. Induction of anaesthesia was followed by ventilation of the lungs with a bag-valve device and an Oxylator® (CPR Medical Devices Corp., Markham, Ontario, Canada) in manual and automatic modes. Each series was repeated twice by a fireman first responder using a hand-held mask to seal the airway, once under anaesthesia and then again under anaesthesia with muscle relaxation.
Results: Patients’ mean age 49 ± 17 yr; 47% male, 48–132 kg. Only 29% had optimal facial and airway physiognomy. Airway management was significantly poorer when the bag-valve device was used than with either Oxylator® mode (P < 0.0001); 23% of cases were not manageable with the bag-valve device. Gastric insufflation was markedly less with the Oxylator® (P < 0.02).
Conclusions: The use of an oxygen-driven device improves the ability of first responders to secure an airway and reduce gastric insufflation, even when distracted. Oxylators® perform significantly better (P < 0.0001) than the bag-valve device.