Mouth-to-nose breathing

August 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Acute Med, All Updates, EMS, Resus

Interesting – mouth to nose breathing was more effective than mouth-to-mouth in simulated resuscitations using anaesthetised, apnoeic patients:


BACKGROUND: The authors hypothesized that mouth ventilation by a resuscitator via the nasal route ensures a more patent airway and more effective ventilation than does ventilation via the oral route and therefore would be the optimal manner to ventilate adult patients in emergencies, such as during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They tested the hypothesis by comparing the effectiveness of mouth-to-nose breathing (MNB) and mouth-to-mouth breathing (MMB) in anesthetized, apneic, adult subjects without muscle paralysis.

METHODS: Twenty subjects under general anesthesia randomly received MMB and MNB with their heads placed first in a neutral position and then an extended position. A single operator performed MNB and MMB at the target breathing rate of 10 breaths/min, inspiratory:expiratory ratio 1:2 and peak inspiratory airway pressure 24 cm H₂O. A plethysmograph was used to measure the amplitude change during MMB and MNB. The inspiratory and expiratory tidal volumes during MMB and MNB were calculated retrospectively using the calibration curve.

RESULTS: All data are presented as medians (interquartile ranges). The rates of effective ventilation (expired volume > estimated anatomic dead space) during MNB and MMB were 91.1% (42.4-100%) and 43.1% (42.5-100%) (P < 0.001), and expired tidal volume with MMB 130.5 ml (44.0-372.8 ml) was significantly lower than with MNB 324.5 ml (140.8-509.0 ml), regardless of the head position (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Direct mouth ventilation delivered exclusively via the nose is significantly more effective than that delivered via the mouth in anesthetized, apneic adult subjects without muscle paralysis. Additional studies are needed to establish whether using this breathing technique during emergency situations will improve patient outcomes.

Effectiveness of breathing through nasal and oral routes in unconscious apneic adult human subjects: a prospective randomized crossover trial
Anesthesiology. 2011 Jul;115(1):129-35

Comments

One Response to “Mouth-to-nose breathing”

  1. Matthew Mac Partlin on August 26th, 2011 03:05

    I can’t remember where I read it, but I presented an anaesthetic paper at a journal club about 4 years ago that showed the same outcomes using Bag-Valve-Mask device-to-nose ventilation versus mouth-and-nose BVM ventilation. The authors proposed the mechanism was a lesser tendency to push the tongue and soft tissues against the retropharynx and it being easier to get a good seal. They noted the potential for gas to escape through the mouth, but this did not appear to adversely affect the outcome and where the gas leak was thought to be significant, the operator could easily close the lips without interfering with his ventilation.