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Mouth-to-mouth ventilation

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VOL: 98, ISSUE: 12, PAGE NO: 43

PHIL JEVON, RESUSCITATION OFFICER, MANOR HOSPITAL, WALSALL

Sponsored by Pfizer

Mouth-to-mouth ventilation is a quick, effective way of providing adequate oxygenation and ventilation when a patient has stopped breathing (Wenzel et al., 1994). Nurses need to be familiar with the technique in case they need to perform it when ventilatory equipment is not available.

Mouth-to-mouth ventilation is a quick, effective way of providing adequate oxygenation and ventilation when a patient has stopped breathing (Wenzel et al., 1994). Nurses need to be familiar with the technique in case they need to perform it when ventilatory equipment is not available.

Healthcare workers are reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, often for fear of contracting HIV. However, there have been only 15 reported cases of the infection being transmitted through mouth-to-mouth ventilation, none of which involved HIV or the hepatitis B virus (Mejicano and Maki, 1998). A number of pocket-size face shields/barrier devices are available which avoid mouth-to-mouth contact during ventilation.

Gastric inflation is associated with poor chest inflation technique. It can lead to regurgitation of gastric contents, aspiration, pneumonia, diaphragm elevation, restricted lung movements and reduced lung compliance.

To minimise the risk of gastric inflation, rescue breaths should be delivered slowly over two seconds and at the lowest tidal volume (usually 700-1000ml) to achieve clear chest rise (Resuscitation Council (UK), 2000). Although smaller tidal volumes are preferable, without supplementary oxygen they would provide inadequate oxygenation (Dorges et al., 2000).

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