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CPR Face Shield vs. CPR Rescue Mask vs. BVM

Ventilating your patient during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is an important skill that must be mastered to provide the best possible outcome for a patient. While some governing bodies are choosing to remove this skill from public CPR classes due to inadequate trainers or the lack of confidence in public rescuers, we at IGH believe it’s a crucial skill that shouldn’t be overlooked and take extra time in every class to make sure our students are comfortable and confident in their abilities to provide Ventilations. Ventilations that are paired with Compressions supply the Patient’s vital organs (i.e., Brain, Heart, Lungs, etc.) with much needed Oxygen to slow the process of Hypoxemia which causes Organ failure. Without these ventilations and supplemental Oxygen, the patients’ organs will begin to die shortly after Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). So, what’s the preferred equipment for these Ventilations? For Healthcare Providers the answer is easy, BVM’s (Bag-Valve-Mask, also known as Ambu-Bags) are the minimum standard in most Healthcare Organizations, these BVM’s provide adequate Ventilations using either normal room air or supplied Oxygen and can be used with/without Advanced Airways (such as Endotracheal Tubes, Combi-Tubes, or King Tubes) or Basic Airways like Oropharyngeal or Nasopharyngeal devices. These BVM’s also provide the highest level of protection for Responders as Ventilations are performed by squeezing the “bag” with your hands instead of close-quarters mouth-to-mouth that can transfer bodily fluid or unknown diseases.

For the Public, we have a few options from “no-barrier” mouth-to-mouth to Face-Shields and Rescue Masks. Mouth-to-Mouth should always be reserved as a Plan-B if there is a Face-Shield or Rescue Mask available. Mouth-to-Mouth Ventilations should be performed at the Rescuer’s discretion, if you do not feel comfortable with Mouth-to-Mouth Ventilations, please refer to Hands-Only CPR as the next best option.

Face-Shields are the most common devices found within First Aid Kits, AED Rescue Kits, or CPR Kits and provide a cost-effective option ($2-$3 each) for Organizations or Individuals. Face-Shields are thin sheet of plastic with a small one-way valve that usually have elastic bands to place around the patient’s Head/Ears to reduce any movement of the shield. The problem with these Face-Shields are mainly seen when a patient begins to bleed, vomit, or eject sputum (spit) from the mouth during the CPR, much like saran wrap or plastic wrap, once fluid is introduced to the Face-Shield it can become a bunched-up mess of plastic and fluid. So, at IGH we always recommend the use of Rescue Masks.

Rescue Masks are rigid plastic masks with a face seal and one-way valve, that provide structure to the Ventilations and are easy to use once mastered. These Rescue-Masks come in multiple sizes and are one-use only devices that provide excellent protection from any bodily fluids that a rescuer may encounter. Students learn how to use the “C-E” Grip Method to provide an adequate seal and “head-tilt, chin-lift” for easy Ventilations. Most Rescue Masks will also come with an elastic band that helps with placement and reduces strain on the rescuer. These Rescue Masks are also cost-effective ($7-$8 each) and include a carrying kit that can be placed in a purse, backpack, or car. In my opinion, spending the extra money will provide an extra layer of protection for the rescuer and even better ventilations than Mouth-to-Mouth or Face Shields can provide.

If you or your organization need Ventilation Devices for possible CPR’s or Rescue Breathing, first consult with your Safety Officer and see if they have any recommendations. If not, then we recommend buying a Rescue Mask from a reputable supplier online or BVM’s from a Medical Supplier for Healthcare Professionals.

Thanks for reading, and as always, if you ever have any questions or comments please feel free to reach out to our office!

Brent Bousquet, President
IGH Health, Fire, & Safety
Office: (817) 809-8677
Website: www.ighsafety.com