A Higher Concentration Oxygen Delivery Pocket Mask


Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

This is an electronic reprint of an article that appeared in NAUI NEWS (Mar/Apr 1989, p. 40 & Alert Diver, Fall, 1989. p. 15). This material is copyrighted and all rights retained by the author. This article is made available as a service to the diving community by the author. It may be distributed for any non-commercial or Not-For-Profit use.  

All rights reserved.

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Nearly all divers are aware that breathing a high concentration of oxygen is the preferred field treatment for a serious diving malady. Most of the oxygen delivery devices on the market require a breathing victim. The current standard of care for a first responder sport diver in dealing with a non-breathing patient is oxygen supplemented mouth-to-pocket mask resuscitation. 

However, the typical pocket mask at 10 l/min only delivers about 50 % O2 to the patient. Since the non-breathing patient is in perhaps desperate need of higher O2 levels, sport diving first responders need some method of increasing the oxygen concentration that can be delivered in the field.

One possible remedy is to modify a disposable (single-patient use) pocket mask resuscitator (InterTech # 008010, or equivalent).  This unit (designed for use in C.P.R.) comes with a pocket mask, a one-way fish-valve assembly (to isolate the patient's breath from the rescuer), a short piece of respiratory tubing, and a mouthpiece. By adding a T-adaptor oxygen inlet (Airlife U/Adapit # 004081, or equivalent) and increasing the length of the respiratory tubing to greater than 12" (The tubing acts as an oxygen reservoir; the longer the tubing, the higher the oxygen concentration that will be delivered.)  This device can furnish 60-70 % O2 to the patient at 10 l/min. (Of course, the actual concentration delivered will be dependent on the precise liter-flow, quality of the mask seal, length of the reservoir tubing, respiratory rate and volume of the rescue-breathing, etc.)

Assembly of the mask arrangement is shown in the photo below. Consult your local hospital supply vendor for parts. Once assembled, practice your oxygen administration technique under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable dive rescue or oxygen administration instructor.

This simple modification is safe and convenient to use, inexpensive and it will increase the amount of oxygen delivered to a non-breathing patient.



More on oxygen delivery devices can be seen at Oxygen Delivery Devices  


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 About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 100 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2022 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

All rights reserved.

Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education