Bag mask ventilation (BMV) is an important means of ventilating and oxygenating a patient unable to protect their airway, or in respiratory depression. BMV can be useful as a primary airway management modality in a prehospital setting, and it is also a useful rescue maneuver for cases of difficult endotracheal intubation.
The following patient features, however, will make BMV difficult; this can be remembered with the helpful mnemonic BOOTS:
- Old Age
Essentially, BMV can be complicated any condition that impairs formation of an effective mask seal. Beards can make establishing an adequate seal difficult, as can any disruption of normal facial anatomy (no teeth, facial fractures, excess facial tissue). Individuals aged over 55 years old are considered to be higher risk for BMV, in part because of decreased upper airway muscle tone. Patients should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea before an elective surgery; also, note that conditions increasing airway resistance (e.g., severe asthma) or decreasing pulmonary compliance (e.g., pulmonary edema) can make ventilation challenging.
- Hung O and Murphy MF (Eds). 2008. Management of the difficult and failed airway. McGraw-Hill.
- Kovacs G and Law JA (Eds). 2011. Airway management in emergencies. People’s Medical Publishing House-USA.