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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care
Minerva Anestesiologica 2012 October;78(10):1095-100
Performance of different PEEP valves and helmet outlets at increasing gas flow rates: a bench top study
Isgrò S. 1, Zanella A. 2, Giani M. 2, Abd El Aziz El Sayed Deab S. 2, Pesenti A. 1, 2, Patroniti N. 1, 2 ✉
1 Department of Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Monza-Brianza, Italy;
2 Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Milano-Bicocca, Ospedale San Gerardo Nuovo dei Tintori, 20052 Monza, Monza-Brianza, Italy
BACKGROUND: Aim of the paper was to assess the performance of different expiratory valves and the resistance of helmet outlet ports at increasing gas flow rates.
METHODS: A gas flow-meter was connected to 10 different expiratory peep valves: 1 water-seal valve, 4 precalibrated fixed PEEP valves and 5 adjustable PEEP valves. Three new valves of each brand, set at different pressure levels (5-7.5-10-12.5-15 cmH2O, if available), were tested at increasing gas flow rates (from 30 to 150 L/min). We measured the pressure generated just before the valves. Three different helmets sealed on a mock head were connected at the inlet port with a gas flow-meter while the outlet was left clear. We measured the pressure generated inside the helmet (due to the flow-resistance of the outlet port) at increasing gas flow rates.
RESULTS: Adjustable valves showed a variable degree flow-dependency (increasing difference between the measured and the expected pressure at increasing flow rates), while pre-calibrated valves revealed a flow-independent behavior. Water seal valve showed low degree flow-dependency. The pressures generated by the outlet port of the tested helmets ranged from 0.02 to 2.29 cmH2O at the highest gas flow rate.
CONCLUSION: Adjustable PEEP valves are not suggested for continuous-flow CPAP systems as their flow-dependency can lead to pressures higher than expected. Precalibrated and water seal valves exhibit the best performance. Different helmet outlet ports do not significantly affect the pressure generated during helmet CPAP. In order to avoid iatrogenic complications gas flow and pressure delivered during helmet CPAP must always be monitored.